A Medication to Beat Meth Addiction

toddSpring 2013

brooks-gentry

Brooks Gentry, M.D.

misty-stevens

Misty Stevens, Ph.D., M.B.A

michael-owens

Michael Owens, Ph.D.

By David Robinson

A team of researchers at UAMS and InterveXion Therapeutics, a UAMS BioVentures incubator client company, is developing a medication that could help people beat their addiction to one of society’s most destructive illicit drugs: methamphetamine.

Led by Michael Owens, Ph.D., Brooks Gentry, M.D., and Misty Stevens, Ph.D., M.B.A., the team has been buoyed by results of the first human safety study of the medication using healthy adults who do not use methamphetamine. The next phase will involve testing the drug in methamphetamine users.

The medication is expected to significantly reduce or prevent the euphoric rush that drug users crave by keeping methamphetamine in the bloodstream and out of the brain, where the drug exerts its most powerful effects. Assuming it receives FDA approval, the methamphetamine antibody will be given as an integral part of a methamphetamine user’s complete treatment program, which consists of counseling and possibly other medications to reduce craving.

The team’s work with antibodies has received national attention, including from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. InterveXion has licensed the technology for anti-methamphetamine antibody products from UAMS and is working closely with the university during product development.