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The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) 2011 recipients of the Medications Initiative for Tobacco Dependence (MITD) Phased-Innovation (UH2) Awards

  1. Dr. Selena Bartlett of the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center,
  2. Drs. Patrick Griffin and Paul Kenny of Scripps Florida and
  3. Dr. Doris Jane Rouse of the Research Triangle Institute (RTI)

This award program brings together expertise from diverse areas to accelerate the development of more effective and accessible anti-smoking medications in the form of product-development partnerships (PDP). These multidisciplinary collaborations between public, non-profit, and private-sector organizations serve NIH’s mission to improve public health through biomedical research in a fast, efficient, and more effective way by leveraging the strengths and resources of diverse parties to achieve a common, focused goal.

The selected proposals describe innovative approaches for building a therapeutic research and design (R&D) pipeline. RTI’s Dr. Doris Rouse will identify medications (e.g., nicotinic, dopaminergic targets) at different stages of development to populate a R&D pipeline; Drs. Patrick Griffin and Paul Kenny at Scripps Florida will construct a bioinformatics database to identify worthwhile targets to treat nicotine addiction, and will host a symposium including members of the pharmaceutical industry, academia, government, and charitable organizations to gather key information for more efficient translational drug development; and, Dr. Selena Bartlett from the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center will employ an array of approaches to identify novel lead compounds for future development, while concurrently exploring leads based on existing compounds for other indications. Each awardee will receive $125,000.

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and illness; more than 440,000 people die each year from tobacco related illnesses in this Country alone, and a billion people are expected to die prematurely from it over the next century. Each year, tens of millions of American smokers attempt to quit, but fewer than 7% are able to remain abstinent for more than six months at a time. Thus, current approaches to smoking cessation are inadequate, and pharmaceutical industry investment in this area remains modest, with most efforts directed at medications to treat the consequences of tobacco dependence (e.g., lung cancer) and not its root cause (i.e., nicotine addiction).

All of the results and accomplishments from the activities of this NIDA-funded PDP initiative will be made available to the public. For more information about the Medication Initiative for Tobacco Dependence (MITD) UH2/UH3 Phased-Innovation Awards, click here.