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Biotherapeutic Innovations On Display At AAPS National Biotechnology Conference

May 12, 2010

Treatment for cocaine addiction, improved anti-HIV measure part of week-long program

Advancement in the treatment of cocaine overdoses and a new defense in the fight against HIV are just two examples of the groundbreaking research that will be unveiled at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists’ (AAPS) National Biotechnology Conference (NBC). The conference takes place Sunday, May 16 -Thursday, May 20 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square in San Francisco, Calif.

A Possible Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Researchers from the University of Kentucky have discovered high-activity mutants of human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) that have potential value in the development of anti-cocaine medication. The ideal treatment accelerates cocaine metabolism by producing biologically inactive metabolites via a route similar to the primary cocaine-metabolizing pathway.

“Cocaine addiction and overdose are well-known public health problems; there is no FDA (Food and Drug Administration)-approved medication specifically for cocaine abuse treatment,” said Chang-Guo Zhan, Ph.D., research team leader and professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Kentucky. “In this research, we aim to design and discover an efficient cocaine hydrolase, which can be used for therapeutic treatment of cocaine overdose, and we have discovered one by engineering BChE.”

The design has been successfully tested in mice. Zhan will present this research during the Sunrise Session on “Computational Approaches to Protein Drug Discovery and Development,” from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 18, and at the Roundtable Session on “Rational Design of Protein Drug Stabilization,” from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19.

Developing Countries See Hope in the Battle against HIV

The possibility for a microbiocide-based HIV prevention measure holds particular promise for developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where the number of people living with HIV, as of 2008, was 22.4 million according to a report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization . Microbiocides gives women, particularly in patriarchal societies, a level of confidence and control when it comes to contraception use; this particular microbiocide would be a dissolving film as opposed to microbiocides that require a plastic applicator, which makes for more discreet usage and less waste.

These studies and other novel research will be presented during a week of educational programming devoted to advancing health through biotherapeutics. Conference programming consists of a Plenary Session, symposia, roundtables, posters, hot topics, and concludes with two short courses. Additionally, the Exposition Hall will be hosting over 100 companies.

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