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NIDA in the News

November 2011

Press Releases

Painkiller abuse treated by sustained buprenorphine/naloxone
People addicted to prescription painkillers reduce their opioid abuse when given sustained treatment with the medication buprenorphine plus naloxone (Suboxone), according to research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry and conducted by NIDA, part of NIH. The study, which was the first randomized large scale clinical trial using a medication for the treatment of prescription opioid abuse, also showed that the addition of intensive opioid dependence counseling provided no added benefit. Read more ⇒

Teen musicians in drug treatment win 2012 GRAMMY® experience
Two teens with powerful stories about their experience in drug treatment have been awarded the top distinction in the MusiCares® and GRAMMY Foundation's® Teen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest. The annual contest was created to celebrate National Drug Facts Week and is coordinated by NIDA, part of NIH. Read more ⇒

NIH study examines nicotine as a gateway drug
A landmark study in mice identifies a biological mechanism that could help explain how tobacco products could act as gateway drugs, increasing a person’s future likelihood of abusing cocaine and perhaps other drugs as well, according to NIDA. The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, is the first to show that nicotine might prime the brain to enhance the behavioral effects of cocaine. Read more ⇒

FDA and NIH announce joint study on tobacco use and risk perceptions
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and NIH’s NIDA announced a joint, large-scale, national study of tobacco users to monitor and assess the behavioral and health impacts of new government tobacco regulations. The initiative, called the Tobacco Control Act National Longitudinal Study of Tobacco Users, is the first large-scale NIH/FDA collaboration on tobacco regulatory research since Congress granted FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009. Scientific experts at NIDA and the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products will coordinate the effort. Read more ⇒

NIH to fund development of K-12 neuroscience education programs
NIDA announced that eight investigators across the United States will receive funding over the next five years to develop innovative neuroscience education programs for K-12 students and their teachers. Activities described within some proposals include using touch tablet technology to teach neurobiology and the creation of a 1,400-square-foot interactive learning center. These grants are funded by the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research Science Education Award and the Science Education Partnership Award Program of the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). Read more ⇒

NIDA Avant-Garde-Medications Development Award winners announced
Scientists proposing to develop vaccines against methamphetamine and nicotine have been selected to receive NIDA's second Avant-Garde Awards for Innovative Medication Development Research. The two scientists, Dr. Thomas Kosten of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, and Dr. Peter Burkhard of the University of Connecticut, Storrs, will each receive $500,000 per year for five years to support their research. Read more ⇒

HIV/AIDS researcher David Ho wins NIDA's 2011 Avant-Garde Award for HIV Research
NIDA announced that Dr. David Ho of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in New York, NY, was selected as the 2011 recipient of the NIDA Avant-Garde Award for HIV/AIDS Research. Ho's proposal aims to develop a novel HIV therapy that could be administered monthly as opposed to the existing daily treatment for HIV. NIDA's annual Avant-Garde award competition, now in its fourth year, is intended to stimulate high-impact research that may lead to groundbreaking opportunities for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in drug abusers. Awardees receive $500,000 per year for five years to support their research. Read more ⇒

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Research News

The antidepressant mirtazapine shows promise in reducing methamphetamine use in humans
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug for which no FDA-approved medication currently exists. A preliminary (small sample) NIDA-funded clinical trial shows that mirtazapine, an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of depression, reduces methamphetamine use as well as associated sexual risk behaviors in men who have sex with men. Given the devastating consequences of methamphetamine abuse, including its link to an increased risk of HIV infection, further research is warranted to determine whether this medication could help in the battle against methamphetamine addiction and its consequences. View the article ⇒

NIDA's medications initiative for tobacco dependence awards announced
NIDA selected the following researchers as the 2011 recipients of the Medications Initiative for Tobacco Dependence (MITD) Phased-Innovation (UH2) Awards: Dr. Selena Bartlett of the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center; Drs. Patrick Griffin and Paul Kenny of Scripps Florida; and Dr. Doris Jane Rouse of the Research Triangle Institute (RTI). This award program brings together expertise from diverse areas to accelerate the development of more effective and accessible anti-smoking medications in the form of product-development partnerships (PDP). These multidisciplinary collaborations between public, non-profit, and private-sector organizations serve NIH’s mission to improve public health through biomedical research in a fast, efficient, and more effective way by leveraging the strengths and resources of diverse parties to achieve a common, focused goal.

New research illuminates contrasting effects of cocaine in the reward system
Results of a new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, help explain the molecular basis of the opposing actions of the two different dopamine receptors that mediate the rewarding actions of cocaine. This study took advantage of intricate genetic and optical tools to separately analyze what happens when cocaine activates each receptor exclusively. The results demonstrate that D1R stimulation causes fast neuronal activation whereas D2R stimulation causes slower neuronal deactivation. View the article ⇒

NOTE: If you cannot access a journal article, please check PubMed Central (PMC), the free, digital NIH archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.

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Other News

NIDA Grantee wins White House PECASE Award
Linda Wilbrecht, Ph.D.

Linda Wilbrecht, Ph.D.

NIDA grantee, Dr. Linda Wilbrecht, director of the Wilbrecht Lab at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center was one of 94 researchers named by President Obama to receive the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Dr. Wilbrecht received the award in recognition of her research on the effects of stimulants, such as cocaine, on the development of neural circuits in the brains of rodents. View the White House press release ⇒

Addiction Performance Project Goes to Colorado
Two more performances of the Addiction Performance Project, NIDA’s CME and CE program for health professionals, were held in Denver, CO, on November 6th at the Association of
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American Medical Colleges Annual Meeting and November 7th at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Kathleen Chalfant was the lead actress in both performances.

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National Drug Facts Week (NDFW)
Next month, there will be a Special Issue of What's New @ NIDA highlighting all the activities and media coverage surrounding National Drug Facts Week! Stay tuned!

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