Addiction is the compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance, whether it is drugs, alcohol, nicotine or even food. Addicts continue to seek out their drugs of choice despite physical, psychological and social harm.
Researchers at Yerkes are working to decipher the biological and psychological backgrounds of addiction and are paving the way for a new class of drugs to target addiction and obesity through a better understanding of the CART peptides, neurotransmitters that have been implicated in the regulation of drug reward, feeding, body weight and stress.
In addition, one medication aimed at treating cocaine addiction, RTI-336, that was developed and tested at Yerkes is in human clinical trials. The progress with this compound is a result of the collaborative research programs at the Yerkes Research Center.