Alcoholism & Substance Abuse

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9 05, 2022

A novel glutamatergic mechanism for the treatment of cocaine and opioid use disorders, and co-occurring anxiety | Faccidomo | $39,565

A novel glutamatergic mechanism for the treatment of cocaine and opioid use disorders, and co-occurring anxiety 2022 Award: $39,565 Substance Use has steadily risen over the past decade and COVID-19 has exacerbated these trends. More than 50% of people diagnosed with Substance Use Disorders, are also diagnosed with co-occurring psychiatric disorders. There is a need for targeted treatments to simultaneously address these co-occurring mental health conditions. This project will systematically investigate whether a novel brain protein called TARP γ-8 could be a novel target for therapeutic interventions for substance use and anxiety. Need/Problem: Despite tremendous need, effective pharmacotherapies for the treatment of Substance Use Disorders and co-occurring psychiatric conditions are lacking. Repeated drug use dysregulates key neurotransmitter systems in the brain and leads to enduring changes in strength and function of brain pathways that regulate reward and pleasure. It [...]

4 05, 2022

Biomarkers of Systemic Inflammation in Alcohol Use Disorder | Morrow | $98,500

Biomarkers of Systemic Inflammation in Alcohol Use Disorder2022 Award: $98,500Studies of post-mortem brains of people who suffered from Alcohol Use Disorders show abnormal activation of inflammatory immune signals that are proposed to underlie addiction to alcohol. We propose to determine if serum levels of inflammatory markers are biomarkers of excessive alcohol drinking. Such a biomarker could provide a useful diagnostic tool and indicate if patients might respond to novel treatments that inhibit the same inflammatory pathways. We will test this idea in men and women who meet criteria for AUD in hopes of discovering a biomarker of AUD drinking severity and to facilitate study of new ways to treat alcohol use disorders.Need/Problem: The burden of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) in our society is greater than any other addictive drug, but, there is no reliable diagnostic biomarker of heavy drinking or [...]

11 09, 2019

Evaluating Oxytocin in Opioid Withdrawal: A Translational Study | McElligott | $50,000

Evaluating oxytocin in opioid withdrawal: a translational study 2019 Award: $50,000 As the opioid epidemic continues to spread in the United States, it’s important to discover new and more effective treatments. Using a preclinical model of opioid use disorder (OUD) in mice, we will investigate the ability of the hormone oxytocin to alleviate the physical opioid withdrawal symptoms, sleep dysregulation, and protracted affective behaviors. Need/Problem: We are currently experiencing a global opioid epidemic; however, the prevalence of opioid use disorder (OUD) is especially visible in the US, where drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death. Individuals who are dependent on opioids continue to take these drugs despite the negative consequences to their lives and the risk of death. A major factor driving this persistent drug taking is because opioid withdrawal is both a physically and mentally traumatic [...]

16 04, 2019

Reversing the Pharmacological Effects of Cocaine by Allopregnanolone | Robinson | $54,506

Reversing the Pharmacological Effects of Cocaine by Allopregnanolone 2108 Award: $54,506 There is a critical need for pharmacological therapeutics to treat stimulant addiction, for which there are no approved drugs. A growing body of evidence suggests that neurosteroids are promising therapeutic strategies for stimulant addiction, but critical pharmacological studies are lacking. This project will determine the ability of allopregnanolone to reverse the pharmacological effects of cocaine on dopamine in the brain and on behavioral activation. Because of their few side effects, neurosteroids may be a novel and effective way to treat stimulant use disorder. Need/Problem: There is a critical need for pharmacological therapeutics to treat stimulant addiction, for which there are no approved drugs. Grant Summary: This project will test whether allopregnanolone, a neurosteroid made in the brain, can counteract key effects of stimulants. Because of their few side [...]