ALBANY, N.Y., — Human testing has begun of an experimental compound that has been studied for years at Albany Medical College as a potential treatment for addiction to a wide variety of cravings—from food to cigarettes to alcohol and hard drugs.
Savant HWP, Inc., a California-based drug development company, has reported that a single dose of 18-MC (18-methoxycoronaridine), developed under the direction of Albany Medical College professor emeritus Stanley Glick, Ph.D., M.D., was well tolerated by healthy volunteers when administered as part of a double-blind, placebo-controlled human safety study conducted by Savant’s South American partner.
Savant HWP plans to develop 18-MC as a treatment for many forms of addiction and compulsive behavior, with an initial focus on cocaine and opiate dependencies. The South American partner is developing 18-MC for the treatment of leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease that is widespread in parts of the tropics, subtropics, and southern Europe.
“18-MC is likely to be the first of a new generation of agents effective against a broad spectrum of addictions—from hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine, to alcohol, nicotine and even sugary, high-fat foods, possibly reducing obesity rates,” said Dr. Glick.
The mechanism of action of 18-MC in leishmaniasis is totally different than that responsible for its anti-addictive effects.
“Based on work by South American collaborators, we’re hopeful that this drug could also provide relief for a completely unrelated disorder, leishmaniasis, that creates painful skin lesions as well as damages internal organs,” he added.
While trials continue in South America, Dr. Glick said the results will have to be replicated and confirmed in the United States before the drug can be approved for use in this country.
“It is particularly rewarding to announce the initiation of human safety testing for 18-MC during National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month,” said Scott Freeman, M.D., Savant HWP co-founder, chairman, and chief medical officer. “I am pleased with our partner’s progress with the trial and that 18-MC has been well tolerated in the volunteers who received the drug to date. Safety and dose-ranging studies are continuing, and we expect to present detailed results at medical meetings and in scientific publications at the conclusion of the trial.”