Originally from Philadelphia, Andrew J. Cutler, MD, graduated from Haverford College, then went to the University of Virginia for Medical School, where he completed his internal medicine and psychiatry residencies. In the late 90s, his passion for research led him to several opportunities within Central Florida and throughout the state. Dr. Cutler is a prominent speaker in the area of psychiatry and has taught many clinicians throughout the world.
For Dr. Cutler, clinical research during the mid-to-late 1990s was an exciting time. Advances in neuroscience connected with pharmacology to create targeted treatments and interventions for dopaminergic pathways. It’s that kind of complexity that attracted Dr. Cutler to psychiatry, especially clinical research. Today, he works closely with the most advanced pharmaceutical companies to help children and adults modulate and regulate dopamine, the neurotransmitter affecting the following:
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD)
- Anxiety Disorders
- Bipolar Disorders
In 2000, he was chosen by Dr. Stephen Stahl, a world renowned psychiatrist with expertise in psychopharmacology, to be a member of his faculty at the Neuroscience Education Institute. This opportunity opened many doors for engagement with the national and world community of psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies. In 1994, he worked closely with federal regulators and legislators as an aide to US Senator Paul Wellstone, MN to advocate for improved mental health care as part of the Clinton health care reform effort. This work led to the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996.
Dr. Cutler’s latest endeavor in his vast career brings him together with Meridien Research, a rapidly-growing medical research company that provides expertise in clinical research. While Meridien Research has performed clinical trials in a broad variety of medical conditions, Dr. Cutler is excited to add his experience and capabilities in psychiatric and central nervous system (CNS) trials. For many people who struggle with mental health disorders, he believes in the Meridien Research values and mission to provide consistent, high-quality clinical research in a professional, ethical and timely manner.
Why Clinical Research?
Dr. Cutler’s “A-Ha!” moment to pursue psychiatry came during his internal medicine residency. He entered psychiatry and clinical research to study the brain (the complexity of the brain and how it works) and to help people on an individual basis. Moreover, he learned that the only way to continue to learn about the brain was to perform clinical research. “One of the things I also enjoy is working as part of a team. Research is a team sport, not an individual sport. And that’s fun.”
This has evolved over time to speaking engagements and continuing medical education (CME) for other clinicians, which helps even more people, and benefits society through the treatment of mental disorders. “By teaching doctors how to use these tools properly,” he explained. “I’m helping the patients who are getting care from other doctors.”
Dr. Cutler is also a consultant for pharmaceutical research and companies that invest heavily in producing advanced therapies. “These companies on average, spend over a billion dollars to bring a drug to market… The drugs I research have-to-have some sort of benefit for my patients,” he explained. These companies follow strict FDA and international laws and guidelines and are motivated to develop medications and other treatments with improved efficacy, safety or utility.” The stakes are too high, which means that many drugs fail to demonstrate adequate efficacy or safety in human trials.
Pharmaceutical research has changed dramatically over the past few decades. In the past, the majority of pharmaceutical research was sponsored by large companies. Today, smaller biotech companies perform a growing role in research and are surpassing the larger, more well-known corporations. These companies are highly specialized and concerned about patient safety, drug efficacy, and benefits to society.
The United States does not invest in new therapies as much as private investment. Another reason why Dr. Cutler advocates for the media to present a more positive light on the pharma industry. It’s because of the research and commitment to health care that the pharmaceutical industry in the United States remains a world leader for innovation.
Throughout college, Dr. Cutler was always in the top 10% of his class. His love of tennis and basketball comes from years of playing the sports throughout high school and college, where he played tennis and basketball for Haverford. He graduated at the top of his class in medical school. Yet, he spent a considerable amount of time away from academia and research, which contributes to his very approachable nature when you meet him.
Currently, he lives in Sarasota, Florida, with his wife and two children. He splits much of his time between the Bradenton Meridien Research clinic and Maitland (Orlando area) clinic for Florida Clinical Research Center. You can also find him speaking at prestigious psychiatry conferences around the country and the world.