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Albany Med Today

Retiring Scientist Put Addiction Medicine on the Map

For more than 40 years, Stanley Glick, PhD, MD, has been at the international forefront of biomedical research on addiction. In June, Dr. Glick retired as director of the Center for Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience, but his influence, and his presence, at Albany Med will continue.

A New York City native, Dr. Glick earned his PhD and MD degrees at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, joining Albany Med in 1984. His work, which has earned acclaim in scientific circles and which has been widely reported, including by the BBC, The Village Voice, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, has focused on proving that addiction is a metabolic disease of the brain and combatting stereotypes of addicts as “down-and-outers.”

“The scientific evidence over-whelmingly supports that addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease of the brain,” he said, adding that acceptance of addiction medicine has begun to change, and he believes he and his colleagues have played a role.

His proudest accomplishment has been his work related to a substance called ibogaine, extracted from a West African plant. In 1990, Dr. Glick was contacted by an opioid addict who said his cravings disappeared after taking ibogaine. In laboratory studies over the next several years, Dr. Glick found ibogaine did indeed reduce addiction to morphine, cocaine, alcohol and nicotine. But because ibogaine had some toxicity, he developed a safer synthetic derivative called 18-MC (18-methoxycoronaridine). This promising anti-addiction drug, eventually licensed by Savant HWP, Inc., is now about to be tested in patients in Brazil.

As the leader of Albany Med’s neurosciences research team, Dr. Glick built and has maintained a productive, cohesive and stable department of neuroscientists and neuropharmacologists who make important contributions to the college’s education and research missions.

According to Dean Vincent Verdile, MD, ’84, “We have been blessed to have such a unique and passionate scientist here at Albany Med, who has not only put in the hard work to try to develop ways to chemically combat addiction but who has acted as a voice of understanding and compassion for people struggling with addiction on all levels.”

To help health care providers recognize signs of addiction in their patients, for the past decade Dr. Glick has led an addiction medicine conference. He will continue to direct this conference, which takes place in November.

His list of “retirement projects” is long, including working as professor emeritus at the College. Dr. Glick called working at Albany Medical College “an honor and a privilege.”