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A Vision Engaging Pharmacokinetic Strategies to Treat Substance Abuse Disorders and Overdose

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm


Kim Janda, Ph.D.
Ely R. Callaway Jr. Professor of Chemistry Professor
Director, Worm Institute for Research & Medicine
Skaggs Scholar, The Skaggs Institute For Chemical Biology Department of Chemistry
Scripps Research Institute

Dr. Janda is the Ely R. Callaway Jr. Professor of Chemistry and director of the Worm Institute for Research & Medicine at Scripps Research. His research blends medicinal chemistry and molecular biology with neuropharmacology and immunology. His work encompasses the following areas: the development of methods for the detection of and protection against chemical/biological warfare agents, the preparation of combinatorial chemical libraries, the design/synthesis and evaluation of catalytic antibodies and enzyme inhibitors, solid-phase organic synthesis, antibody/peptide phage display libraries, the application of immunopharmacotherapy in the treatment of drug addiction and cancer, methods of prevention and treatment of obesity, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies towards neglected tropical diseases, and investigation and development of molecules that block quorum sensing in bacteria.


Substance use disorders are a global public health concern with less-than-optimal treatment outcomes. This is most evident with the national emergency declared against the opioid crisis. Our ability to prevent the spread of drug abuse and aid individuals with a substance use disorder is handicapped by the lack of sufficient treatment modalities. For example, many patients receiving treatment relapse; therefore, there is an urgent need to discover effective medications to treat opioid abuse. Traditional, small-molecule approaches have only been marginally successful in treating substance use disorders; as such we have sought alternative treatments to conventional drug pharmacotherapies. “Biologics” based therapeutics offer an alternative to customary pharmacodynamic approaches for treating both substance use disorders as well as lethality threats from many of these drugs. Specifically, I will discuss the history and some basic tenets on vaccination as well as how vaccination can alter the pharmacokinetic properties of drugs without burdening the recipient with untoward CNS side effects. Moreover, the lecture will detail the chemistry, immunology, and behavioral findings from some of our vaccines against opioids including heroin and the synthetic opioids fentanyl and carfentanil. Finally, I will detail how we can utilize a biologic from a bacterial source as a means of treating nicotine substance disorders and poisoning. 

The page was last updated on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 4:59pm