Sunday, March 8, 2009

Drug Research and the Recovery Act of 2009

What's in the budget for addiction scientists?

Scientists were among the likely beneficiaries of President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is slated to receive $10 billion for use over the next two years. A yet-to-be-determined portion of the grant will end up with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Here is a sampling of NIDA’s wish, or “Challenge Topics” for which the agency is seeking grant proposals. The application due date is April 27, 2009.

--Dietary treatment of substance disorders.
“There is abundant preclinical and clinical evidence that suggest dietary therapies and behavioral interventions can promote neurogenesis, diminish susceptibility to metabolic and excitotoxic injury (e.g., diets rich in antioxidants), and/or counteract stress responses within the brain. Dietary regimens or supplements can be evaluated as individual treatments or as adjuncts to FDA-approved medications.”

--Drug genetics and informed consent.
“Address ethical issues related to access to broad sharing and use of new genetic information and technologies for addiction research to improve treatment and prevention options for addicts.”

--Addiction drugs combined in treatment.
“Network biological analysis predicts that modification of a single target by a drug is not nearly as likely to affect disease outcome as would rational combinations of drugs that target multiple, complementary mechanisms. Applications will focus on combination of medication strategies for the treatment of substance use disorders.”

--Neurobiology of opioid addiction.
“There is an urgent need for research that will more thoroughly delineate the neurobiological implications of long-term opioid use. This knowledge gap is of particular concern when it comes to the developing brain - and the urgency is underscored by the fact that increasing numbers of adolescents and young adults are using opioid medications, prescribed and otherwise.”

--Research on addiction drugs for pregnant women.
“Substance abuse during pregnancy often occurs in the context of complex environmental factors and poly-drug exposure, as well as medical conditions which are associated with adverse neonatal consequences. Much is known in regard to the negative effects of substances of abuse on the pregnant/post partum women and their substance exposed neonates but relatively little is known in regard to medication treatment strategies and research methodology.”

--Internet-based prevention and treatment in rural locations.
“Many persons living in remote or rural locations have limited opportunities to obtain drug abuse treatment services, due to a lack of available service settings, the barrier of traveling long distances, and/or the perceived lack of private and confidential treatment options. This program seeks to develop web-based drug abuse treatment interventions that do not necessitate frequent in-person visits to a central facility.”

--Finding new molecular targets for addiction treatment drugs.
“Projects may utilize techniques ranging from gene knockout technologies, behavioral evaluations, assay development, and targeted library synthesis and screening that could lead to the development of medications for drug addiction treatment. The focus may be on the identification of new molecular targets, and/or the discovery of small molecule selective ligands for previously identified targets, such as muscarinic M5 antagonists, neuropeptide Y antagonists, and neurotensin agonists.”

For general information on the National Institute on Drug Abuse implementation of NIH Challenge Grants, contact:

Christine Colvis, Ph.D.
NIDA Challenge Grant Program Coordinator
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institutes of Health
Phone 301-443-6480


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