UPDATE 1-Kudzu extract may treat cocaine addiction-study

(Adds comment from Gilead 3rd paragraph)

WASHINGTON, Aug 22 (BestGrowthStock) – An extract of the kudzu vine
being developed to treat alcoholism may also help treat cocaine
addiction, researchers at Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O: ) reported
on Sunday.

Tests on rats showed the drug could stop them from giving
themselves cocaine, the Gilead team reported in the journal
Nature Medicine.

Gilead inherited the experimental drug last year when it
acquired CV Therapeutics Inc. A spokesman for the company said
it was working to try to bring the drug to market.

“There is no effective treatment for cocaine addiction
despite extensive knowledge of the neurobiology of drug
addiction,” wrote Lina Yao, Ivan Diamond and colleagues.

Kudzu is an old remedy for alcoholism. The vine, native to
Asia, has spread across much of the U.S. Southeast after being
imported to control soil erosion.

CV Therapeutics made a synthetic extract called selective
aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 inhibitor or ALDH2i. It carries the
experimental name CVT-10216.

Tests on rats showed it could stop them from giving
themselves cocaine. It can also prevent relapse after rats are
weaned off cocaine.

They found how it works — by raising levels of a compound
called tetrahydropapaveroline or THP. Cocaine cravings make
levels of a brain chemical called dopamine soar and THP
interferes with this.

“We propose that a safe, selective, reversible ALDH-2
inhibitor such as ALDH2i may have the potential to attenuate
human cocaine addiction and prevent relapse,” the researchers
(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

UPDATE 1-Kudzu extract may treat cocaine addiction-study