Experimental Cancer Drug Could Curb Cocaine Addiction

An experimental drug from Pfizer could potentially prevent inhibit drug addiction.

Findings from a recent study suggest a drug currently in cancer drug trials could also potentially curb addiction to cocaine.

The novel therapy could potentially inhibit memories that are responsible for cravings of the drug, according to a study published in eLife.

“We have demonstrated that a single administration of a trial drug from the pharma company Pfizer can completely obliterate cocaine associated memories and significantly accelerate the end of drug seeking behavior in animals,” said researcher Riccardo Brambilla, PhD. “With this drug currently being used in cancer trials, it could be easily repositioned for treatment of cocaine addiction and other drugs of abuse.”

In the study, scientists found that the drug was able to prevent memories of euphoria associated with the drug in mice. Memories of euphoria are created during cocaine use through the brain’s limbic system, which regulates pleasure and motivation.

This creates addiction commonly associated with cocaine and other drugs. However, the transition from recreational use and compulsive use was inhibited in the mice, according to the study.

Since Pfizer is currently testing the drug in clinical trials, the treatment may be available faster than is typical.

“With drug use recently on the rise, new treatments for breaking addiction are much needed,” said researchers Stefania Fasano, PhD. “The availability of a powerful drug from Pfizer, already validated in humans, could speed up the clinical development of our findings.”