Cocaine-use disorders continue to be a significant public health concern, yet no effective pharmacological treatments have been identified. This application is founded on the proposition that translational research on development of cocaine pharmacotherapies will benefit from the use of coordinated and homologous procedures in animals and humans to study effects of Candidate medications on choice between cocaine and a non-drug reinforcer. Self-administration procedures will be used in this project because the reinforcing effects of drugs are central to their abuse and the development of dependence. An alternative reinforcer to cocaine will be offered because the choice to use cocaine to the exclusion of other behaviors is a hallmark of dependence, and an effective medication should assist patients in reducing drug use and reallocating behavior from drug use to more responsible and productive activities. Advantages of including preclinical research in the medications development process include strict control over environment and subject history, and testing novel compounds and/or extensive dose ranges not feasible in humans. Rhesus monkeys were selected as the animal subjects because they are phylogenetically more closely related to humans than rodents, and can be instrumented with chronically indwelling IV catheters, which facilitates implementation of drug vs. food choice procedures. Human laboratory research permits the testing of putative pharmacotherapy effects on challenges with the abused drug in a clinically relevant subject population. Another advantage of pairing rhesus monkey and human laboratory models is that powerful within-subjects designs can be used with both species. Despite the relative strengths of human and non-human primate approaches, translational research has been hampered by the use of widely different self-administration procedures and medication treatment regimens. The proposed project seeks to harmonize rhesus monkey and human procedures used to screen medications by first establishing parallel self-administration methods that will employ the same cocaine doses, route of cocaine administration and schedule of reinforcement, as well as a species-specific alternative reinforcer that effectively reduces drug taking. Cocaine doses, schedule parameters and alternative reinforcer magnitude will then be adjusted to obtain equivalent functional effects prior to d-amphetamine maintenance testing. The use of d-amphetamine will permit equilibration of cross-species sensitivity and provide a comparator for effects of other, non-dopaminergic Candidate medications examined in future studies. Achieving the aims of this project will exert a sustained and powerful impact by establishing a research platform for cocaine medication screening that will tightly link animal and human approaches thereby accelerating translational research on medications development. The proposed project is highly innovative in that it will develop coordinated and homologous procedures in nonhuman primates and humans using sophisticated cocaine choice procedures aimed towards medications development for cocaine-use disorders.

Public Health Relevance

Cocaine-use disorders continue to be a significant public health concern, yet no effective medications have been identified. This application is founded on the proposition that research to develop medications for cocaine addiction will benefit from the use of highly coordinated and homologous animal and human procedures to study effects of promising drugs on choice between cocaine and a non-drug alternative. The ultimate goal of this project is to establish a research platform that facilitates animal-to-human translational research on the development of medications for treatment of cocaine abuse and dependence.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning and Ethology Study Section (BRLE)
Program Officer
Kautz, Mary A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Kentucky
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Banks, Matthew L; Negus, S Stevens (2017) Insights from Preclinical Choice Models on Treating Drug Addiction. Trends Pharmacol Sci 38:181-194
Banks, Matthew L; Czoty, Paul W; Negus, Sidney S (2017) Utility of Nonhuman Primates in Substance Use Disorders Research. ILAR J 58:202-215
Alcorn 3rd, Joseph L; Pike, Erika; Stoops, William S et al. (2017) A pilot investigation of acute inhibitory control training in cocaine users. Drug Alcohol Depend 174:145-149
Strickland, Justin C; Lile, Joshua A; Rush, Craig R et al. (2016) Comparing exponential and exponentiated models of drug demand in cocaine users. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 24:447-455
Lile, Joshua A; Stoops, William W; Rush, Craig R et al. (2016) Development of a translational model to screen medications for cocaine use disorder II: Choice between intravenous cocaine and money in humans. Drug Alcohol Depend 165:111-9
Johnson, Amy R; Banks, Matthew L; Blough, Bruce E et al. (2016) Development of a translational model to screen medications for cocaine use disorder I: Choice between cocaine and food in rhesus monkeys. Drug Alcohol Depend 165:103-10
Strickland, Justin C; Bolin, B Levi; Lile, Joshua A et al. (2016) Differential sensitivity to learning from positive and negative outcomes in cocaine users. Drug Alcohol Depend 166:61-8