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Baylor College of Medicine News

O'Quinn Foundation contributes to addiction research

The John M. O'Quinn Foundation has contributed $50,000 toward the groundbreaking addiction research of Dr. Thomas Kosten, who holds the Jay H. Waggoner Endowed Chair in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine.

John O'Quinn, the late Houston trial attorney and philanthropist, established the foundation in 1997 and was passionate about contributing toward finding a cure for alcohol and drug addictions.

"John O'Quinn was committed to helping others and improving their condition," said Robert C. Wilson III, president and trustee of the O'Quinn Foundation. "He was actively involved in recruiting Dr. Kosten to BCM and felt that Kosten was one of the best things to happen to BCM and the medical center."

Kosten's work over the past 30 years has focused on developing new medications for treating cocaine, opiate and alcohol dependence. His research has resulted in the discovery and development of medications, vaccines and technologies that will have a lasting impact on the field of addiction. He has developed a cocaine vaccine, TA-CD, to treat the addiction, which was shown to block the euphoric effects of the drug in 38 percent of subjects who received the vaccine in a clinical trial.

"This contribution is important to support our programs for improved vaccines against opiates, cocaine and methamphetamine," said Kosten. "These funds will allow additional animal studies of these new vaccines and help us discover genetic predictors of poor vaccine response in humans."

"Dr. Kosten's research is invaluable in finding a cure for addictions," said Wilson.

"During his lifetime, Mr. John O'Quinn was candid and brave in disclosing publicly his personal battle with alcoholism and his commitment to supporting medical research for understanding, treating and preventing alcoholism," said Dr. Stuart Yudofsky, professor and chair of the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at BCM. "The Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at BCM is grateful to Mr. O'Quinn and the Trustees of the John M. O'Quinn Foundation for their generous gift to support medical research of alcoholism."