Researchers at McLean Hospital, in collaboration with Nobilis Therapeutics, have been awarded a grant to test a novel xenon gas-based treatment for opioid use disorder.
- McLean Hospital researchers have been awarded a grant by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to test xenon gas to rapidly lessen opioid withdrawal symptoms in mice
- The investigators are teaming up with Nobilis Therapeutics to advance the strategy towards the clinic
The Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer Grant was awarded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health under award number R41DA055403. The grant will fund tests that mimic Nobilis Therapeutics’ NBTX-001 inhaler for rapidly reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms in mice. It is hoped that the treatment could eventually help reduce unprescribed, or street, opioid use, which often leads to overdoses and deaths. NIDA recently reported nearly 70,000 opioid-related overdose deaths this past year.
The investigators have not yet tested the effects of xenon on opioid withdrawal symptoms. However, others have shown that xenon—whether administered at high concentrations during anesthesia or at low concentrations (close to what the team proposes to test with funding from this grant)—rapidly lowers the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which drives the symptoms experienced by individuals during opioid withdrawal.