The new chemical, called RO5263397, targets the brain's reward center in animals and could open up a new avenue for fighting cocaine addiction. "This is the first systematic study to convincingly show that RO5263397 has the potential to treat cocaine addiction," said senior author Dr Jun-Xu Li, a University at Buffalo assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology.
This new compound simulates the brain receptor TAAR 1, which is reportedly involved in the reward effect after cocaine consumption. The mice study also found that the compound was able to prevent the risk of relapse.
"RO5263397 reduced the animals' motivation to get cocaine," Dr Li said. "This compound makes rats less willing to work for cocaine, which led to decreased cocaine use."
The study details are published in Neuropsychopharmacology.