Immune System: New Partner in Opioid Cravings Fight

by Colleen Fleiss on  September 7, 2018 at 2:50 AM Alcohol & Drug Abuse News
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Immune system peptides - amino acid compounds affect brain activity and, by extension, drug cravings, revealed study carried out by Erin Calipari, assistant professor of pharmacology and corresponding author on a paper in The Journal of Neuroscience.
Immune System: New Partner in Opioid Cravings Fight
Immune System: New Partner in Opioid Cravings Fight

"We found we could target these immune peptides and change the cravings that male mice and rats had for food and sugar," Calipari said. "Now we're looking at what we need to do before we can take this into human clinical trials. "

She's collaborating with Drew Kiraly at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai on how these systems work and how to best translate the findings to help human patients.

Calipari warns that there's no single cure for the complicated disease of addiction which, at its core, is a hijacking of the dopamine system that creates a cycle of substance abuse. However, individual addicts are heavily influenced by genetic or external factors, Calipari said. Her lab is focused on neurological interventions that could help cut cravings while patients work on other contributing factors.

"One example is that we've found women are particularly vulnerable to addiction," she said. "Ultimately, we want to be able to go to various populations and say, 'These things are predictive of your vulnerability to addiction.' Then, we want to target systems that could improve their treatment outcomes.

"We're not going to find one treatment that fixes everything, but we can, eventually, target different aspects of addiction for individual patients."

Source: Eurekalert

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