Frank Vocci, Ph.D.

Frank Vocci

Frank Vocci

Frank J. Vocci, Jr.
President and Senior Research Scientist
Friends Research Institute
1040 Park Avenue, Suite103
Baltimore, Maryland  21201

Academic Degrees:
Loyola University                              B.S. in Biology, June 1971
Baltimore, Maryland

University of Maryland                    Ph.D., Pharmacology, June 1977
Department of Pharmacology
and Toxicology
Baltimore, Maryland

Professional Societies
American Society of Addiction Medicine
College on Problems of Drug Dependence (Fellow)
Rho Chi Pharmaceutical Sciences Honor Society
Sigma Xi

Honors and Scholarships
Maryland State Scholarship recipient – 1968
University of Maryland Thesis Fellowship – 1976
PHS Special Recognition Award for Medications Development Program, 1990
Visiting Professor, University of Puerto Rico, May 1991
PHS Special Recognition Award for Medications Development Division, 1992
PHS Special Recognition Award for the LAAM Clinical Team, 1993
HHS Secretary’s Recognition Award: LAAM Team, 1994
NIDA Director’s award (Group Award)
NIH Director’s Award – 1999
HHS Secretary’s Award for buprenorphine development team 2000
NIDA Director’s Award (Group Award)
Presidential Rank Award from President Bush: Meritorious Executive, 2001
NIDA Director’s Award (Group Award)
CPDD Distinguished Service Award 2003
HHS Secretary’s Award for buprenorphine implementation 2005
California Society of Addiction Medicine’s Vernelle Fox Award 2006
FeDerSerD (Italian Addiction Society) Award 2006
Board of Directors, Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource (ASTAR) Center 2009-
Board of Directors, College on Problems of Drug Dependence, 2011-2015
President, College on Problems of Drug Dependence 2013-2014
Co-Editor, Journal of Addiction Medicine

Ad Hoc reviewer for:
American Journal of Hospital Pharmacy
American Journal of Psychiatry
Brain Research Bulletin
BMC Medicine
Cochrane Reviews
Contemporary Clinical Trials
CNS Drugs
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Drug and Alcohol Review
European Journal of Pharmacology
Life Sciences
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Nature Medicine
Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior

2014- present NIAAA AA-3 Institutional Review Group
2016- present Chair, NIAAA AA-3 Institutional Review Group
2016 Ad Hoc reviewer for Department of Defense medical grants
2016 Ad Hoc reviewer for Veterans Administration Neurobiology A review group

New approaches to developing medications for helping smokers quit

Frank Vocci, Ph.D.
Friends Research Institute, Inc, Baltimore, MD, USA

Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in many developed countries.  Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) medications can double an individual’s chances of quitting but relapse is frequent. The majority of NRT medications have a slow onset of action.  It has been suggested that three attributes for a successful NRT product are: 1) the method should be safe and easy to use; 2) specific doses should be accurately and reproducibly delivered; and 3) the pharmacokinetics should resemble those of cigarette smoking (Pomerleau et al., Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 1989). Although most NRT meet the first two criteria, it is only recently that transmucosal and pulmonary delivery devices of nicotine approximate the delivery of nicotine via cigarettes. Whether more rapid nicotine delivery will be equivalent or superior to slower- onset NRTs is an empirical question. Examples of transmucosal and pulmonary delivery devices, including e-cigarettes, will be given. A second approach to the development of novel medications to facilitate smoking cessation is the development of novel nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonists and antagonists.  In this regard, it is noted that bupropion has been reported to be a nicotinic receptor antagonist (Slemmer et al., JPET, 2000; Damaj et al., JPET, 2010).   A third approach seeks to capitalize on results from preclinical studies of pharmacological modulation of the circuitry underlying nicotine withdrawal and prevention of relapse by blockade of cue-induced, priming-induced, and stress-induced reinstatement of nicotine self-administration.  Ligands that alter dopaminergic, glutamatergic, and GABA-ergic neuronal systems to modulate the effects of nicotine are the primary focus of these types of studies.