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Dr. Stanley Glick, Albany Medical College - A Prescription for Addiction


Albany, NY – In today's Academic Minute, Dr. Stanley Glick of Albany Medical College describes his work on a substance that could reduce cravings and clear a path to recovery for those addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Dr. Stanley Glick is a professor and Director of the Glick-Maisonneuve laboratory at Albany Medical College. The lab's mission is to enhance the understanding of the neurobiology of addictive drugs and develop novel therapeutic agents for treating addictive disorders.

About Dr. Glick

Dr. Stanley Glick - A Prescription for Addiction

Many people still regard drug addiction as a kind of moral failure, but there is clear evidence that addiction is a biological problem just like other diseases. Investigators have found that there are regions in the brain that control addiction, and that in addicted people there are major chemistry problems in these parts of the brain. This suggests that if we can restore brain chemistry to its correct balance, we may be able to cure or at least treat addiction very effectively.

We're working now to develop agents that might help do this. This research began in the early 1990s after I received a rather startling phone call from a self-described heroin addict who said his cravings disappeared after he ingested an extract derived from a West African plant. The active substance was known as ibogaine. I began conducting a series of experiments which confirmed the agent's ability to reduce addictive behavior, such as drug self-administration, in animal models. It actually reduced addiction to not just morphine (heroin is metabolized to morphine), but also to cocaine, alcohol and nicotine. However, additional research indicated that the drug also had toxic characteristics, such as slowing the heart and producing hallucinations.

We have since developed synthetic congeners, or derivatives, of ibogaine without these toxic properties. One of these, named 18-methoxycoronardine or 18-MC, shows considerable promise. We are now partnering with a new pharmaceutical company to bring this and perhaps other related agents to clinical trials in humans.

We are optimistic that these agents will someday be able to help many addicts overcome their addictions. And, if we can provide an effective biological treatment for addiction, we will not only improve the lives of millions of people, we will also help reduce the huge, illicit drug trade by diminishing the demand.

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