Drug dependency research wins PhD students prizes

PhD students from the Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology researching new ways to prevent relapse in people with an opiate or cocaine dependency won prizes at this year’s European Opioid Conference.

Sarah Cordery was awarded the prize for best oral presentation and Chris Roche came second in the poster presentation category.

In her presentation ‘A buprenorphine/naltrexone combination for relapse prevention’ Sarah discussed the work that she and her team are doing to combine existing medicines to develop safe and effective treatments for people with a drug dependency.

Sarah said: “The combination of buprenorphine and naltrexone has proved to reduce the rate of relapse for recovering addicts, while not being addictive like methadone.

“Initial tests have also indicated that this combination would be suitable for cocaine addicts - for whom no treatment is currently available - as well as heroin addicts.”

Chris said: “Relapse to harmful drug use is common and difficult to avoid for people trying to overcome addiction. Our team is interested in the development of new treatments to help prevent this.”

Chris and his team are working to generate a single molecule that, via interactions with several opioid receptor types, will reduce the risk of relapse to opiate and cocaine abuse.

Having identified promising candidates from initial tests, they have taken a lead compound into rodent models; it was the results from these tests that Chris presented in his prize winning poster entitled ‘In search of a single drug to prevent relapse to opiate and cocaine abuse’.

Sarah Cordery (second right) with Professor Andreas Zimmer - current president of the EOC – (far right) and Professor Ian Kitchen - outgoing president of the EOC (far left).

Sarah Cordery (second right) with Professor Andreas Zimmer - current president of the EOC – (far right) and Professor Ian Kitchen - outgoing president of the EOC (far left).

Chris Roche (centre)

Chris Roche (centre).

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