New strategies for better addiction drugs

Los Angeles: Scientists have shown the way to developing more effective drugs for addiction with less side effects, says a study.

The study by scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute, published in the Aug 2, 2013 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, showed in a combination of cell and animal studies that one active compound maintains a strong bias towards a single biological pathway, providing insight into what future drugs could look like.

The compound examined in the study, known as 6`-guanidinonaltrindole (6`-GNTI), targets the kappa opioid receptor (KOR).

Located on nerve cells, KOR plays a role in the release of dopamine, a neuro-transmitter that plays a key role in drug addiction.

Drugs of abuse often cause the brain to release large amounts of dopamine, flooding the brain`s reward system and reinforcing the addictive cycle, reports Science Daily.

"There are a number of drug discovery efforts ongoing for KOR," said Laura Bohn, a TSRI associate professor, who led the study. "The ultimate question is how this receptor should be acted upon to achieve the best therapeutic effects. Our study identifies a marker that shows how things normally happen in live neurons - a critically important secondary test to evaluate potential compounds."


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