Scientists at Johns Hopkins University have identified a compound that stopped mice addicted to cocaine from wanting the drug. The compound has been proven safe for humans and is undergoing further animal testing, in preparation for possible clinical trials for people addicted to cocaine.
The compound, called CGP3466B, blocks the brain pathway that cocaine acts on, CBS News reports. It has been tested on humans with Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, without causing serious side effects. The compound was not successful in treating either disease.
In the new study, mice were given the choice of visiting two rooms, one of which occasionally dispensed cocaine. When the mice spent all of their time in the cocaine room, they were considered addicted. When these mice received CGP3466B, they started spending equal time in both rooms. This suggested they were no longer addicted, the researchers said.
The study appears in the journal Neuron.
“What’s exciting is that this drug works at very low doses, and it also appears only to affect this specific pathway, making it unlikely to have unwanted side effects,” researcher Dr. Risheng Xusaid in a news release.
Last month, scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of California, San Francisco announced they used laser lights to turn cocaine cravings off and on in a study of rats.