New strategies for better addiction drugs

Los Angeles, Aug 4 (IANS) 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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