Medications Development for Cocaine: A Translational Approach in Monkey and Human

Grants and Contracts Details


Cocaine-use disorders continue to be a significant public health concern, yet no effective pharmacological treatments have been identified. This application is founded on the proposition that translational research on development of cocaine pharmacotherapies will benefit from the use of coordinated and homologous procedures in animals and humans to study effects of candidate medications on choice between cocaine and a non-drug reinforcer. Self-administration procedures will be used in this project because the reinforcing effects of drugs are central to their abuse and the development of dependence. An alternative reinforcer to cocaine will be offered because the choice to use cocaine to the exclusion of other behaviors is a hallmark of dependence, and an effective medication should assist patients in reducing drug use and reallocating behavior from drug use to more responsible and productive activities. Advantages of including preclinical research in the medications development process include strict control over environment and subject history, and testing novel compounds and/or extensive dose ranges not feasible in humans. Rhesus monkeys were selected as the animal subjects because they are phylogenetically more closely related to humans than rodents, and can be instrumented with chronically indwelling IV catheters, which facilitates implementation of drug vs. food choice procedures. Human laboratory research permits the testing of putative pharmacotherapy effects on challenges with the abused drug in a clinically relevant subject population. Another advantage of pairing rhesus monkey and human laboratory models is that powerful within-subjects designs can be used with both species. Despite the relative strengths of human and non-human primate approaches, translational research has been hampered by the use of widely different self-administration procedures and medication treatment regimens. The proposed project seeks to harmonize rhesus monkey and human procedures used to screen medications by first establishing parallel self-administration methods that will employ the same cocaine doses, route of cocaine administration and schedule of reinforcement, as well as a species-specific alternative reinforcer that effectively reduces drug taking. Cocaine doses, schedule parameters and alternative reinforcer magnitude will then be adjusted to obtain equivalent functional effects prior to d-amphetamine maintenance testing. The use of d-amphetamine will permit equilibration of cross-species sensitivity and provide a comparator for effects of other, non-dopaminergic candidate medications examined in future studies. Achieving the aims of this project will exert a sustained and powerful impact by establishing a research platform for cocaine medication screening that will tightly link animal and human approaches thereby accelerating translational research on medications development. The proposed project is highly innovative in that it will develop coordinated and homologous procedures in nonhuman primates and humans using sophisticated cocaine choice procedures aimed towards medications development for cocaine-use disorders.
Effective start/end date2/1/136/30/18


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: $756,674.00


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