SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - In some life-changing news for addiction sufferers, a research team out of LSU Health - Shreveport has just been awarded an $11.1 million grant to further test a new drug that could stop people's addictions.
The drug could help stop cravings for certain addictions to things like cocaine, nicotine and even food.
KSLA first reported about the work Dr. Nick Goeders is doing at LSU Health when we featured his study in February.
"I'm so thrilled to be here. I hope I never wake up from this wonderful dream," Goeders said on Tuesday.
Goeders, whose parents are battling alcohol addiction, said he's dedicated nearly 30 years of his life for this day.
"Proud to announce a $11.1 million NIH grant from the federal government," said Chairman of Embera NeuroTherapeutics, Ross Barrett.
Embera NeuroTherapeutics and the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program have been spearheading the project along with Biomedical Research Foundation.
The grant comes from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to continue developing their drug addiction-kicking compound.
Titled EMB-001, the drug is designed to treat addiction to cocaine, nicotine, meth and other drugs by blocking the craving response a person develops to a drug, "(to) help people who want to stop using drugs remain drug-free," said Goeders.
"If you want to get treatment for cocaine, there's nothing approved on the market today and I'm pleased to announce we are the furthest along in the FDA, in the entire United States," Barrett said.
The compound passed the first phase of FDA testing at the beginning of the year. From there, Goeders' lab performed a small clinical trial on real cocaine users and the results were far better than he expected. Now, this grant will allow the start of Phase 2 testing at different sites across the country.
"We're going to have the best researchers in the world looking at this pharmacal therapy that was developed right here in Shreveport, Louisiana."
Embera NeuroTherapeutics officials hope this green light will turn the drug into a cure for the 23 million addicted Americans across the nation.
"We're looking toward what really matters, the 1.5 million Cocaine Use Disorder patients that have no approved medication," said Barrett.
That more than $11 million grant will fund testing for the next three years with the goal being to bring the drug closer to the marketplace.