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This UC pharmacologist may have discovered a drug to help those addicted to cocaine

Dr. Andrew Norman.jpg
University of Cincinnati
University of Cincinnati Pharmacologist Andrew Norman, Ph.D., is awaiting FDA approval to test his antibody people addicted to cocaine.

UC's Andrew Norman is seeking FDA approval for the first in-human trials of an antibody that binds with the cocaine, preventing the drug from getting into the brain.

Andrew Norman’s out-of-the-box thinking may be the first effective treatment for people addicted to cocaine who want to get off the drug.

The University of Cincinnati pharmacology professor has developed an antibody that binds with cocaine and prevents the illegal drug from getting into the brain.

Unlike opioids, where there are plenty of drugs to assist those addicted - methadone and buprenorphine, and for recovery, naloxone - cocaine users don’t have such drugs.

“They have to be motivated to want to quit and the cocaine and the antibody will help them quit by having no effect of cocaine," he says. "So they take the cocaine and the cocaine is neutralized and has no effect. And in that way, because it’s not having its effect it won’t induce a relapse response.”

Norman is trying to get FDA approval for the first in-human trials of the antibody. It is shown to work in animal models.

For 50 years, other researchers have pursued dopamine as a possible treatment for people who use cocaine. But Norman contends that’s not the right approach and it hasn’t worked.

Recently he did a Ted talk-like speech at Pitch X: From Lab to Market, highlighting discoveries at Ohio universities.

Here he explains his idea:

Norman says he has filed the regulatory paperwork with the FDA and the agency has requested more information. The UC professor says COVID has also slowed down the process.