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Addiction Psychiatry Division Will Participate in Consortium to Develop New Treatment Tools for Addiction

November 03, 2020
by Jordan Sisson

Yale School of Medicine’s Division of Addiction Psychiatry will participate in a consortium funded by a multimillion-dollar federal grant that will attempt to develop new treatment tools for addiction.

The $12 million five-year UG3-UH3 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will support a two-stage project to develop and test tezampanel, a novel glutamate AMPA receptor antagonist, for opioid withdrawal syndrome.

Yale Psychiatry researchers will work with addiction psychiatry leaders from Indiana University, University of New Mexico, and the University of Cincinnati. The project will also be done in partnership with Proniras Corporation, a Seattle-based biotechnology company.

R. Andrew Chambers, MD, Director of Indiana University School of Medicine’s Addiction Psychiatry and Co-Primary Investigator, said the project is groundbreaking because it will test a novel mechanism of action for the treatment of opioid syndrome and related conditions; supports an integrated industry-academia-government partnership to bring new treatments for addiction disease much more quickly than traditional mechanisms; and creates a multisite consortium of research teams involving addiction psychiatry programs, guaranteeing that the science will involve and be translated by people who are expert clinicians and educators in addiction psychiatry.

"We are very excited to participate in the clinical arm of this study and to partner with colleagues including Dr. Chambers, who trained here at Yale. Finding new treatment for opioid use disorder is of vital clinical importance as opioid use and overdose has only intensified during the COVID crisis," said Ismene Petrakis, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and Chief of Psychiatry at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System.

The first stage of the project, conducted over the next two years, will involve laboratory tests of tezampanel to test its utility in the context of various preclinical models of opioid withdrawal, and in combination with opioid and benzodiazepine drugs commonly associated with opioid addictions and lethal overdoses.

Yale will conduct its portion of the clinical research of the project between the third and fifth years of the study, from September 2022 through 2025, if the results of the first phase of research show acceptable margins of safety and efficacy. Researchers will receive about $400,000 each year to fund this research.

Submitted by Jordan Sisson on November 03, 2020