By: Angela Garrity
The University at Buffalo announced today that Jun-Xu Li, PhD, a researcher of the university, has been awarded a $2 million-dollar, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant is being given to investigate a novel therapy that may prove to be more powerful than currently available smoking cessation therapies.
Li is an associate professor of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and is studying Trace amine associated receptor (TAAR1), a novel target receptor recently emerged for treating addiction.
Some smoking cessation therapies currently available, including nicotine replacement therapies, act directly on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Li feels it may be possible to kick a nicotine addiction through a different means, by indirectly modulating the dopamine system.
TAAR1, which is expressed in key drug reward and addiction regions of the brain, indirectly modulates the addiction-related effects of nicotine.
“Our goal now is to systematically assess the therapeutic potential for treating nicotine addiction using chemicals that bind TAAR1 receptors.” Says Li.
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