The Eshelman Institute for Innovation is proud to announce the recipients of our Novel Pain Therapeutics grant cycle!
The Eshelman Institute partnered with the North Carolina Collaboratory to solicit projects from academic researchers across North Carolina for funding research and development that can advance the discovery and translation of therapeutics for opioid use disorders. You can view our research priority areas here on our website.
With this funding, provided through a generous appropriation by the NC General Assembly, we have funded three projects for our Opioid Abatement and Recovery Research Program. Congratulations to our grant recipients!
Prescription opioid drugs remain the prevailing treatment for chronic pain, contributing to opioid dependence and the opioid-related health crisis, underscoring the urgent need for new approaches in pain management. This project will develop our novel sigma receptor ligand classes for pain management as an alternative to opioid drugs, which carry high risks of abuse and overdose potential.
Grégory Scherrer, PharmD, PhD, Associate Professor, UNC School of Medicine; UNC Neuroscience Center, Department of Pharmacology
Resolving the Neurobiological Mechanisms of Opioid-Induced Reward, Dependence, and Respiratory Depression to Identify Novel Therapeutics Against Opioid Addiction and Overdose Death
Opioids are effective analgesics, however, these drugs also produce harmful side effects that have generated an epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths. This project aims to elucidate and inhibit the neurobiological mechanisms of opioid-induced reward and dependence, which cause addiction, and of opioid-induced respiratory depression, which is the main cause of overdose death. To this aim, this research will first utilize RNA sequencing technologies to identify opioid-sensitive neurons in the brain. The genes expressed by these neurons will then be characterized to discover drug targets for the development of innovative treatments that can prevent and treat opioid use disorders to battle the opioid epidemic.