Researcher Given Grant to Explore Antibody Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Researcher Given Grant to Explore Antibody Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

A researcher from the University of Cincinnati was awarded a $2.5 million five-year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop a potential immunotherapy for cocaine addiction. One of the four winner of the NIDA’s first Translational Avant-Garde Awards for Innovative Medication Development Research, Andrew Norman, PhD, is a professor in the psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience department at the University of Cincinnati.

With his colleague W. James Ball, PhD, of the pharmacology and cell biophysics department at the University of Cincinnati, Norman is studying the development of a monoclonal antibody, or an antibody derived from a single cell to be used against a specific target) that could work against cocaine. When injected into the bloodstream, the antibody would attach to cocaine and prevent it from entering the brain, which would limit its pleasurable effects. Norman and Bell have previously shown that this antibody reduces the effects of cocaine in animals.

Norman said this grant is vital to their research, and that it will greatly enhance their development of this potential new form of addiction treatment.

NIDA also awarded William Brimijoin, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic, Jia Bei Wang, PhD, of the University of Maryland at Baltimore, and Daniele Piomelli, PhD, of the University of California, Irvine. Brimijoin and Wang are also researching cocaine addiction treatments, and Piomelli is researching a new treatment for smoking cessation.

NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow said that research has clearly shown that drug addiction is linked to disruptions of brain structure and function, which presents several potential targets for the development of new medications. Presenting the awardees with grants could help quicken the process of finding these much-needed medications for addiction.

Source: PsyOrg.com, Researcher wins $2.5 million award from National Institute on Drug Abuse, September 21, 2010

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