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Treatment of Cocaine-Induced Fetal Brain Injury

Posted Jun 30 2007 5:00pm

Description of Invention:
This invention is helpful in diagnosing and treating fetal brain injury caused by cocaine exposure. It is estimated that one percent of pregnant women use cocaine at some point in their pregnancies. In addition to increased risk for complications during pregnancy such as stillbirth, stroke, and low birth weight, cocaine appears to affect both short-term and long-term mental development. Animal studies indicate changes in brain development and behavior in response to prenatal cocaine exposure, and research has shown that children exposed to cocaine before birth are at risk of learning and behavioral problems. Children exposed to cocaine before birth are twice as likely to have significant delays in mental skills by age two. Treatment for pregnant women who use cocaine is typically directed to cocaine avoidance, but these treatments do not directly address the problem of cocaine-induced damage in the developing fetus, particularly in the fetal brain. Thus, there exists a critical need for drugs that can prevent or treat cocaine-induced damage to the fetal brain.

The inventors have demonstrated that N-oxidative metabolism of cocaine causes oxidative stress to the endoplasmic reticulum, which ultimately results in cell cycle arrest and abnormal development of the fetal cerebral cortex. They have also shown that cytochrome P450 inhibitors can block the inhibition of cell proliferation by cocaine. This invention discloses methods of using cytochrome P450 inhibitors to treat or prevent cocaine-induced fetal brain injury, as well as methods for screening for inhibitory drugs to treat or prevent cocaine-induced fetal brain injury.

  • Development of cytochrome P450-based therapeutics for fetal brain injury caused by cocaine exposure
  • Assay to screen for new drugs that prevent cocaine-induced fetal brain injury

Development Status:
The inventors plan to test cytochrome P450 inhibitors in animal models.

Chun-Ting Lee (NIDA)
William Freed (NIDA)

Relevant Publication:
  1. In preparation

Licensing Status:
Available for licensing.

Collaborative Research Opportunity:
The Cellular Neurobiology Research Branch of the National Institute on Drug Abuse is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize the development of P450 inhibitors and related compounds for the prevention of cocaine-induced developmental brain damage Please contact John D. Hewes, Ph.D. at 301-435-3121 or for more information.

Central Nervous System
Central Nervous System - Therapeutics
Central Nervous System - Other

For Additional Information Please Contact:
Charlene Sydnor Ph.D.
NIH Office of Technology Transfer
6011 Executive Blvd. Suite 325,
Rockville, MD 20852
United States
Phone: 301-435-4689
Fax: 301-402-0220

Ref No: 1578

Updated: 07/2007

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