New Study Reports that Protein Neutralization Could Help in Cocaine De-Addiction

The team of researchers neutralized a protein molecule that is commonly seen among cocaine users in their blood and brain.

The team found that the protein granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) can affect the reward centers of the brain. Neutralizing the protein would be the safest mode to reduce cocaine craving. The research was conducted at Mont Sinai Medical Centre in New York. The results of the study was published in journal Nature Communication in January 2017.

Researchers found that since G-CSF is capable of producing a positive signal at the reward centers in brain, it could be injected directly into the brain’s reward centers called the nucleus acumbens. This led to a significant rise in the cocaine seeking behavior as well as cocaine consumption among the mice that were tested.

As the mice were treated with the G-CSF, they worked harder to look for and consume cocaine in the experiments. The conventional approaches include psychotherapy and no medication-assisted therapy that are used to treat the drug seeking behavior. Safe drugs to neutralize G-CSF are commonly used to stimulate the production of the white blood cells or the immunity cells after rounds of chemotherapy. G-CSF stimulates the production of these WBCs. The drugs used are Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) approved.

According to Opioid Induced Side Effects Treatment Market report published by Coherent Market Insights, opioids are the class of drug that include strong pain relievers and illegal drugs such as heroin and illicit pain relievers Researchers conclude that treatment with a G-CSF modulator would have the distinct advantage that it may be harnessed to reduce drug taking while ostensibly having no abuse potential on its own. However, further research is necessary before using this practically. Results of the study showed that if the G-CSF could be neutralized in the brain, the animal would effectively just stop seeking cocaine without altering other behaviors.

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