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Stephen Husbands
Stephen Husbands
Dr Husbands and his research team
Dr Husbands and his research team

Internal News - 08 July 2008

New funding for research that targets opioid abuse

A research team, led by Dr Stephen Husbands in the Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology, has received over £300,000 funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to target improved treatment agents for opiate dependence.

An opioid is a chemical substance that has a morphine-like action in the body. It is mainly prescribed for pain, but opioid abuse and addiction continues to be a major problem in the UK and throughout the world.

The team, which includes colleagues at SRI International, California, hopes to design compounds that can interact with a number of different receptors on the surface of cells, partially mimicking the effects of opioids.

The agents they are developing will have the duration of effect and acute safety comparable to opioid Buprenorphine, but with a higher level of morphine-like effects to appeal to addicts for whom methadone is presently prescribed.

Dr Husbands said: “Buprenorphine has proven to be of great benefit to many addicts in their fight against addiction. In recent years we have developed our understanding of how it acts within the brain and this should allow us to develop alternative, improved treatment agents.

“NIDA, part of the US National Institutes for Health, is committed to using science to better understand and treat drug abuse and addiction and their continued support of our research confirms the quality of work being carried out within Bath.”