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Results from first clinical trial using GVG to treat addiction

UPTON, NY -- Using an experimental addiction treatment first investigated at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, a team of scientists from Brookhaven, the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine, and a national addiction treatment center in Mexico report prolonged abstinence and the elimination of drug craving in eight out of 20 hard-core, long-term cocaine addicts who enrolled in the study. This is the first human clinical data showing that gamma vinyl-GABA (GVG, vigabatrin) holds promise as a pharmacological treatment for cocaine addiction. The results will appear in the December 1, 2003, issue of the journal Synapse, available online September 22, 2003 (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jissue/104552849).

"It is extremely gratifying to see these early human results bear out what we've observed in our extensive preclinical animal studies with GVG," said Brookhaven neuroanatomist Stephen Dewey, who has been using animal models and brain imaging techniques to investigate GVG's effects on neurochemistry and addictive behavior for more than ten years. These animal experiments have shown that GVG can block drug-induced increases in brain dopamine (a chemical associated with reward and pleasure, which is elevated by all addictive drugs), drug-seeking behavior, drug self-administration and sensitization, and drug craving -- even that triggered by environmental cues (see http://www.bnl.gov/PET/GVG/).

"This promising work on a potential treatment for drug addiction illustrates the value of the Department of Energy's basic research in physics, chemistry, and imaging sciences," said Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. "The advanced technologies developed in the DOE laboratories are being applied to a number of critical national health issues, including the problem of drug abuse."

Said lead autho
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Contact: Karen McNulty Walsh
kmcnulty@bnl.gov
631-344-8350
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
22-Sep-2003


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