Johns Hopkins Gazette: March 20, 1995


Researchers locate target for 
treating cocaine addiction  

     New findings about cocaine's effects on the brain have
proved that it should be possible to develop a drug to treat
cocaine addiction.
     Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse 
and the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions have identified the
precise site where cocaine binds to an important brain protein:
the dopamine transporter protein. Scientists also have learned
that this cocaine-binding site can be disabled without affecting
the protein's primary function.
     George Uhl, associate professor of neuroscience and 
neurology and acting director of NIDA's Intramural Research
Facilities in Baltimore, said that a compound that chemically
confirms research findings has been used in experiments. He
cautioned, however, that the compound is relatively weak and not
a candidate for use in treatment. 
     Researchers currently have no such candidate, though 
the new findings should dramatically speed the search 
for more potent and selective compounds, he added.
     The recent discoveries have prompted a major collaboration
between Guilford Pharmaceuticals, a Baltimore-based company
specializing in treatments for neurological disorders, and the
Abell Foundation, a philanthropy that supports research to solve
drug abuse problems. Dr. Uhl will collaborate with the
pharmaceutical company to develop his research toward an
effective drug to treat cocaine addiction.

Controlling allergies, asthma by 
eliminating triggers in the home

     A new book by Robert A. Wood, director of the Pediatric
Allergy Clinic at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, encourages
the more than 40 million asthma and allergy sufferers to first
try eliminating in homes, offices and schools those things that
trigger their reactions.
     The point of the book, "Taming Allergy and Asthma by
Controlling Your Environment: A Guide for Patients," published by
the Maryland chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of
America, is that a large portion of allergic reactions caused by
animal dander, dust mites, molds and cockroaches can be avoided.
The result is healthier children and adults, fewer cases of
asthma, fewer days missed at work and school, and a savings in
the number of medical treatments.
     In the book, Dr. Wood lists 100 ways to eliminate or 
limit environmental triggers, discusses pros and cons of 
products currently on the market to treat asthma and allergies, 
and describes several case studies in which environmental 
control produced dramatic relief for his patients.
     He notes that the World Health Organization estimates 20 to
30 percent of office workers around the globe suffer from some
form of sick building syndrome and that 30 percent of new or
refurbished offices are at risk for it. 
     The book is available in bookstores or by contacting the
Allergy and Asthma Foundation of Maryland, at 532-4135.

Women's varsity crew prepared 
to compete with world-class talent 

     For the first time in its six-year history, the women's
varsity crew has the talent to compete in the prestigious Royal
Henley Women's Regatta to be held in mid-June. The problem is
they don't have the funds to make the trip. At least not yet.
     The team is seeking about $6,000 to send the five-member
boat to London for the event. Although a recent fund-raiser
brought in enough money to buy a new training boat, it is not
enough to cover training, travel, lodging and equipment expenses
in London.
     Only the best athletes travel each year to compete in this
international event. Each member of this year's team has
distinguished herself as an exceptionally dedicated athlete,
training year-round, both individually and as participants on
other teams in the United States and Canada.
     "It's just not that often that you get such a competitive
boat in which everyone is so evenly matched," said senior captain
Maureen Abbey, the crew's third seat. "We will have a great
chance to win the nationals [in Cincinnati on June 9 and 10]. But
it is fascinating and inspirational to row against the
Olympic-caliber crews that compete in regattas.
     "So, our ultimate goal is to get to London and win."

School of Continuing Studies 
wins four marketing awards      

     The School of Continuing Studies has received four marketing
communications awards in the 1994 National University Continuing
Education Association Marketing and Promotion Awards Competition. 
Two gold awards were received for a Division of Business and
Management identity brochure and an advertising campaign
displayed in Washington D.C. Metro transit cars.  Two
newsletters, The Advantage and Alumni News, were cited as bronze
award winners. 
     SCS representatives will receive the awards at the
association's annual conference, held in Anaheim, Calif., in

Roche seminar series fosters 
exchange of research advances

     Hoffman La Roche's ongoing seminar series designed to
facilitate exchange of scientific ideas between the
pharmaceutical industry and academia will continue on Friday,
March 24, with a seminar on neuroscience at the School of
Medicine in the Wood Basic Science Bldg., room 811. The seminar,
titled "Update on Neuroscience," is the second in the Roche
series on significant areas of scientific research.
     The series is designed to spark dialogue between industry
and academia, ultimately paving the way for collaborative
ventures and leading to opportunities for cooperation and
     The U.S. seminars are a continuation of a successful series
which began in 1992 at European institutions and universities,
including universities in the U.K., Italy and Austria. A final
U.S. seminar will be held during the spring of 1995 at Washington
University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Hopkins speakers will
include Solomon Snyder, Richard Huganir and Jeremy Nathans.

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