Thursday, December 17, 2009

Duquesne Profs Collaborate to Fight Cocaine Addiction

Three Duquesne University professors are combining research grants to find a way to lessen cocaine addiction.

The National Institutes of Health gave Dr. Christopher Surrat, Dr. David Lapinsky, and Dr. Jeffry Madura a total of $2.4 million to compound a chemical that would block the cocaine “high,” while easing withdrawal symptoms.

Cocaine is said to lead to a bodily increase of dopamine, which controls pleasure, emotion, and movement. Lapinsky says they will examine a 3-dimensional computer model of a dopamine transporter to find a chemical that can block cocaine’s effects.

“Once we understand how these molecules interact with the model, we could potentially bring via the computer new compounds that could represent therapeutic ways of treating those addiction disorders,” says Lapinsky.

The new drug produced would address an addict’s physical need for cocaine without creating the “high” that comes with it.

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