NIH awards VCU $2.6M to study opioid use disorder treatments

Lab Tech with pipette

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University this week were awarded two grants totaling more than $2.6 million through the National Institutes of Health Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative, to improve treatment for opioid addiction.

VCU’s School of PharmacySchool of Medicine and C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research will lead studies to expand treatment options for opioid use disorder.

F. Gerard Moeller, M.D., director of the Wright Center and division chair for addiction psychiatry, will oversee the clinical trial phase of both studies at the VCU Center for Compounding Practice and Research.

Moeller will also lead the three-year clinical trial period on a third project for a novel medication that targets the ghrelin receptor to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings, pending preclinical outcomes of a joint study with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.