Innovation

Fran and Doug Tieman Center for Research

Through active participation in research, Caron helps advance the industry with evidence-based solutions for substance use disorders.

Caron Treatment Centers' Fran & Doug Tieman Center for Research 2022

Welcome to the Fran and Doug Tieman Center for Research

The Center was established to conduct cutting-edge research related to the understanding, prevention, and treatment of addiction. Addiction is a complex, multi-factorial disease that affects individuals, their families, and communities.

This means that a multi-pronged approach is essential to its treatment and prevention. In partnership with our colleagues at various organizations, including Penn State Hershey and the National Institutes of Health, we are exploring novel biomedical approaches to find long-lasting solutions to the public health problem of addiction.

Caron has a diverse group of researchers with a wealth of experience that work together and collaborate with external partners to conduct research propelled by out-of-the-box thinking.

A Few Minutes with Dr. Simoyan

Dr. Olapeju Simoyan, MD, MPH, BDS, Caron’s Founding Medical Director of Research, discusses the new Fran and Doug Tieman Center for Research at Caron and why research is essential in the prevention and treatment of substance use disorder.

Our Vision & Mission for Research

Research Vision Statement: Advancing knowledge and providing evidence-based solutions in the field of addiction through biomedical research and training.

Caron's Research Mission Statement: Caron Treatment Centers is committed to the continued growth of knowledge of the disease of addiction and how it affects individuals and families. To this end, the Fran and Doug Tieman Center for Research is devoted to:

  • Exploring the roots of the disease of addiction in all its many facets.
  • Conducting high-quality biomedical research with integrity.
  • Disseminating research findings aimed to advance the treatment of addictive diseases.
Research Center Infographic

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Current Research Projects

Explore our current research topics below to learn more about the goals, overview and partners of each. Please note: in cases where Caron’s participation in projects includes patients, they have elected to participate in the research and have been provided detailed information about what participation entails.

The goal of this study is to determine whether an existing FDA approved diabetic/obesity medication (liraglutide) will be effective in treating Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). Liraglutide is a safe and effective medication for losing and maintaining a healthy weight. It works by helping people to feel satiated, thereby reducing cravings and allowing them to make healthier lifestyle choices. In collaboration with Penn State Hershey and with funding from NIDA, the Caron research team is evaluating whether liraglutide can be repurposed to reduce cravings in people with OUD and allow them to focus on behavioral health strategies to support their wellness.

A Pilot Open Trial in partnership with Penn State College of Medicine

Research shows that sleep plays a significant role in people’s ability to establish and maintain emotional, mental and physical wellness. The goal of Caron and Penn State Hershey’s collaborative study is to explore whether Suvorexant, a sleep aid approved by the FDA, can help in multi-faceted ways to prevent patients with substance use disorder from relapsing. One facet of our research is looking at whether a person diagnosed with insomnia, who takes Suvorexant, can significantly reduce his or her risk of relapse by improving quality of sleep. An additional component of our research is to further evaluate whether improving quality of sleep can reduce cravings for substances significantly enough for Suvorexant to be considered a medication-assisted treatment. Caron is now in the process of applying for a larger grant to study this medication in a more extensive population.

Identification of brain signatures that may help predict risk of relapse using electroencephalography (EEG)

One of the new frontiers of addiction medicine research is evaluating brain activity to determine the potential for relapse. In this study in collaboration with ALTO Neuroscience, electroencephalographic (EEG) technology is being used to determine if brain signatures can help identify predictors of relapse and guide treatment planning.

This study was designed to measure prefrontal cortex brain activity leveraging the portability and accuracy of functional near infrared spectroscopy (FNIRS) neuroimaging. In the pilot studies, FNIRS findings predicted relapse approximately 85% of the time.

Explore the use of the Bridge device (an auricular percutaneous nerve field stimulator) as a modality for reducing symptoms of opioid withdrawal in patients during inpatient detoxification.

Research shows alternative approaches to chronic pain are gaining traction as legitimate options in healthcare. In this instance, we are evaluating whether a nerve stimulation device offers sufficient relief from withdrawal symptoms when compared with a placebo device. If effective, the device could allow for decreased need for pharmacological intervention.

Caron endeavors to pursue research opportunities for non-pharmaceutical interventions such as Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) to reduce cravings, relapse risk and overdose potential by targeting the prefrontal cortex. Essentially, rTMS is a noninvasive procedure that applies magnetic stimulation to specific areas of the brain. It has been approved for treatment-resistant depression. Mark S. George, M.D., one of the nation’s leading experts in rTMS, has joined Caron’s research team as a consultant.

Caron participated in research with SOLVD Health to develop a gene-based risk assessment tool to identify individuals at risk for opioid use disorder. This non-invasive genetic test is currently under FDA review.

Recent Studies

Goal: Examine the role of social experiences during residential treatment and links with post-treatment relapse.

Summary: Individual differences in maintaining meaningfulness day by day when faced with negative social experiences may contribute to the risk of relapse in the early months following residential treatment.

Read more about the key findings and specifics of how it is important to recovery.

Goal: Addresses barriers and gaps in scholarly activity by identifying prioritized research training needs of military family medicine physicians at all levels of training and practice.

Summary: Dr. Olapeju Simoyan, Dr. Erin Deneke and Alice Lu of Caron along with colleagues from the Department of Family Medicine of the Penn State College of Medicine co-authored a paper in Military Medicine, Results of a Military Family Medicine Scholarly Activity Training Needs Assessment.

Meet Our Experts Leading Caron's Research

Related Resources

News & Resources
News & Resources
Blog
Jul 06, 2021

New Frontiers in Addiction Medicine Research

By Olapeju Simoyan, MD, MPH, BDS, FASAM, FAAFP

Read Article

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