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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 11/30/01
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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Addiction Research Center Focuses on Goal

Cincinnati--The Cincinnati Addiction Research Center (CinARC) of the University of Cincinnati is using teamwork and the latest in research techniques to find new, more effective treatments for substance abuse, particularly for cocaine and opiates such as heroin and oxycontin.

Dr. Eugene Somoza, MD, PhD together with Theresa Winhusen, PhD lead the local research team, comprised of a group of experts in substance abuse. They have been working together for six years. During the past year, CinARC has obtained two grants totaling about $22 million of funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The two grants are The Clinical Trials Network (CTN) grant and the Clinical Trials Operation (CTO) grant. The CTN grant is a five-year, $12 million grant whose principal goal is to help bridge the gap between research and practice in drug addiction treatment. The CTO grant is a five year $9.8 million grant whose goal is to conduct phase-I and phase-II clinical trials to discover a pharmacological treatment for cocaine dependence.

"With these two grants, CinARC is putting Greater Cincinnati at the forefront of addiction research," Somoza said. "In conjunction with NIDA and the Cincinnati and Dayton VA Medical Centers, UC is now conducting larger scale studies than ever before."

The funding is being used to conduct studies on three trial medications, all of which are already FDA approved for other indications. Studies, to determine the effectiveness of these medications for treating drug addiction, are being conducted at the VA Medical Center in Cincinnati and at the VA Medical Center in Dayton. CinARC is currently recruiting patients for these clinical trials.

Volunteer participants addicted to cocaine/crack are put through a thorough two-week screening process. Eligible participants are randomly divided into two groups, one group receiving a trial medication and one group receiving a placebo. During the study, participants attend clinic visits three times a week for monitoring with one visit each week, including an individual relapse prevention counseling session with a master's degree level therapist. At the end of the studies, data from the two groups will be compared to see if there is a significant difference in their levels of cocaine use. Please call (513) 487-6662 for information about participating in these trials in either Cincinnati or Dayton.

CinARC also collaborates with six regional community treatment programs, which make up the "Ohio Valley Node" of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network. The six collaborating teams include Comprehensive Addiction Service Systems in Toledo, Ohio; The Crossroads Center in Cincinnati, Ohio; Jefferson Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center in Louisville, Ky.; Maryhaven, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio; Midtown Community Mental Health Center in Indianapolis, Ind. and Prestera Center for Mental Health Services, Inc. in Huntington, W.Va.

"The goal of these collaborations is to develop evidence-based treatments through clinical trials for drug-dependent patients," Somoza explained. "Two clinical trials are now being conducted, one at Midtown in Indianapolis and the other at Maryhaven in Columbus. Both of these are evaluating a medication called buprenorphine for detoxifying patients who are dependent on opiates such as heroin and oxycontin."

Through this collaboration, the community treatment centers are better able to alert the researchers to real world problems encountered in the process of treating drug-dependent patients and to alert the researchers of problems that need to be solved using scientific principles.

This Ohio Valley Node is part of a national effort to develop evidence-based treatments for substance abuse. There are currently 14 such nodes in the country encompassing 90 community treatment centers and 14 research institutions.


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