A biomedical research company at UAMS has taken a crucial step in advancing a medication that may help methamphetamine users fight their addictions.
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.
InterveXion’s medication, named ch-mAb7F9, is a monoclonal antibody, a scientific immune cell approach that has been used in advancing a number of successful cancer treatments.
In the Phase I trial, the volunteers — who did not use methamphetamine — received the medication over the past eight months and experienced no serious side effects.
“While we still have lots of work to do, this is a significant milestone for this research,” said Dr. Brooks Gentry, a UAMS professor and InterveXion’s chief medical officer who is overseeing the clinical trial phase. InterveXion is a UAMS BioVenture business incubator company.
“Many experimental drugs fail during the first phase of a clinical trial, so we’re excited that we can now look forward to testing in methamphetamine users who want help reducing their meth dependence,” Gentry added.
THE METH EFFECT
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive synthetic stimulant that affects the pleasure centers of the brain. It is considered one of the most highly addictive drug substances known.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there were 439,000 methamphetamine users in the U.S. in 2011. New methamphetamine users numbered 133,000.
As many as 12.6 million Americans have used methamphetamine and by one widely distributed RAND study, meth abuse has an estimated $23.4 billion economic impact in the U.S. annually.
The economic costs weighed in the study looked at the burden of addiction, premature death, drug treatment, aspects of lost productivity, crime and criminal justice, strain on health care resources, production and environmental hazards, and child endangerment. Read More…