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Medications Initiative for Tobacco Dependence (MITD)

Emerging Drugs

Get more information on K2/Spice, Salvia and Bath Salts. NIDA will update this page with the latest research findings on these and other emerging drugs as they develop.

A Planned Product Development Partnership (PDP)

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is embarking on a novel Product Development Partnership (PDP), entitled "Medication Initiative for Tobacco Dependence (MITD)," to accelerate the development of more effective and accessible anti-smoking medications by leveraging collaboratively the strengths and resources of public, non-profit, and private-sector organizations. NIDA is using Phased Innovation Awards Cooperative Agreements to support this initiative. The first phase of this initiative (the UH2 phase) will:

  1. systematically study and assess the scientific opportunities in anti-smoking drug discovery and development;
  2. study the feasibility of founding a partnership to develop new, safe and effective medications for the treatment of tobacco addiction, outlining the pharmaceutical, non-profit, academic interactions necessary for its establishment and support; and
  3. present a strategic business plan, including comprehensive R&D strategies and approaches.

In September 2011, NIDA awarded three UH2 cooperative agreements to:

  • Dr. Doris Jane Rouse of the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) to identify medications (e.g., nicotinic, dopaminergic targets) at different stages of development to populate an R&D pipeline;
  • Drs. Patrick Griffin and Paul Kenny of Scripps Florida to construct a bioinformatics database to identify worthwhile targets to treat nicotine addiction, and host a symposium with members of the pharmaceutical industry, academia, government, and charitable organizations to gather key information for more efficient translational drug development; and
  • Dr. Selena Bartlett of the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center to employ an array of approaches to identify novel lead compounds for future development, while concurrently exploring leads based on existing compounds for other indications.

In September 2012, NIDA will award the second phase (UH3) of this initiative to a single awardee who will serve as a Managing Partner (MP). The MP will subsequently apply the proposed developmental research plan, scientific approaches and evaluation tools from the planning phase to a large PDP execution phase. Interested applicants and others can find all products developed by the UH2 recipients on this website as they become available.

Tobacco Addiction and Medicines for Smoking Cessation

Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of death in the US, linked to 440,000 preventable deaths per year, mainly due to heart and respiratory diseases, particularly lung cancer1. Despite the fact that these deaths are the result of tobacco addiction, which compels individuals smoke despite the known adverse health consequences, investment in clinical trials have disproportionately been directed at the treatment of diseases caused by smoking, rather than addressing the root cause of the diseases—tobacco addiction (See Fig)2.

Research Priorities in Tobacco Addiction

Note: These data are from the 2005 Monitoring the Future survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, and conducted annually by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. "Annual" refers to use at least once during the year preceding an individual's response to the survey. "30-day" refers to use at least once during the 30 days preceding an individual's response to the survey.

The small number of smoking cessation trials does not correspond to an absence of demand. Many smokers would try to quit if effective and inexpensive approaches were available. More than 40 percent of US adult smokers have tried to quit in the past 12 months, yet 80% of those who attempted to quit on their own, without treatment, relapsed within the first month3. Even with currently available medications, only 15–35% of individuals are able to remain abstinent for more than a year. The development of new treatments for smoking cessation stands to save lives and reduce the huge costs of related diseases (about $181 billion).

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Annual smoking-attributable mortality, years of potential life lost, and productivity losses—United States, 1997–2001. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep, 54 (2005), pp. 625–628.

2 Pollock JD, Koustova E, Hoffman A, Shurtleff D, Volkow ND. Treatments for nicotine addiction should be a top priority. Lancet. 2009 Aug 15;374(9689):513-4. Epub 2009 Apr 24.

3 S Shiffman, SE Brockwell, JL Pillitteri and JG Gitchell, Use of smoking-cessation treatments in the United States. Am J Prev Med, 34 (2008), pp. 102–111. Abstract

NIDA MITD Program Staff

Elena Koustova, M.B.A., Ph.D.
Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Blvd - Room 4292
Bethesda, MD 20892-9593
Tel: 301-496-8768
Fax: 301-402-0008

Kristopher Bough, Ph.D.
Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Blvd - Room 4153
Bethesda, MD 20892-9593
Tel: 301-443-9800
Fax: 301-443-9649

Geetha Subramaniam, M.D.
Division of Clinical Neuroscience and Behavioral Research
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Blvd - Room 3129
Bethesda, MD 20892-9593
Tel: 301-435-0974
Fax: 301-443-6814

Udi Ghitza, Ph.D.
Center for Clinical Trials Network
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Blvd - Room 3151
Bethesda, MD 20892-9593
Tel: 301-443-9983
Fax: 301-443-2317

Scott A. Chen, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Office of Extramural Affairs
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Blvd - Room 4234
Bethesda, MD 20892-9550
Office: 301-443-9511; Cell: 301-541-8767
Fax: 301-443-0538

Jonathan D. Pollock, Ph.D.
Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Blvd - Room 4103
Bethesda, MD 20892
Tel: 301-435-1309
Fax: 301-594-6043

Other Recommended Reading

This page was last updated November 1, 2011.

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