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Advancing a novel portable detection method for cannabis intoxication

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R42DA043977-01
Agency Tracking Number: R42DA043977
Amount: $224,973.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIDA
Solicitation Number: DA17-010
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2017
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2017-08-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-07-31
Small Business Information
Charlestown, MA 02129-2404
United States
DUNS: 080332169
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (617) 395-7612
Business Contact
Phone: (617) 395-7612
Research Institution
BOSTON, MA 02114-2696
United States

 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

Intoxication from marijuana MJ impairs psychomotor performance and at least doubles the risk of motor
vehicle accidents The ongoing wave of legalization of MJ has brought increasing prevalence of driving while
intoxicated with MJ However there is no quantitative biologic test that can accurately determine whether an
individual is acutely impaired from MJ intoxication Assays of the primary intoxicating substance in MJ THC in
body fluids has a high false negative rate as THC is cleared from blood within minutes long before
impairment is resolved And assays of THC metabolites yield a high false positive rate because clearance of
these metabolites can take weeks Thus there is now no nor is there likely to ever be a test of blood breath or
body fluids that can accurately detect MJ intoxication In response to this significant knowledge gap this
project aims to develop an accurate portable method for detection of impairment due to MJ intoxication using
functional near infrared spectroscopy fNIRS fNIRS is a non invasive safe brain imaging technique that
capitalizes on differences in the light absorption spectra of deoxygenated and oxygenated hemoglobin Hb
that allows the measurement of relative changes in Hb concentration that reflect brain activity fNIRS can be
performed in natural environments at low cost and thus can be used in real world settings In Phase I we will
develop an algorithm for individual level detection of impairment from THC using fNIRS measurements To do
so we will assess the effect of oral THC or placebo on fNIRS measurements self reported intoxication and
impairment as defined by the gold standard field sobriety test conducted by a Drug Recognition Expert DRE
in healthy MJ users fNIRS assessments will examine the effect of THC exposure on resting state and
task based activation in the prefrontal cortex the extent to which impairment in psychomotor functioning
with THC administration correlates with THC induced change in hemodynamic responses detected with fNIRS
and the sensitivity and specificity and area under the ROC curve of fNIRS measurements and field sobriety
test determinants of impairment Milestone Should machine learning applications to the data generate an
algorithm that predicts impairment with andgt accuracy compared with a gold standard field sobriety test we
will proceed to Phase II In Phase II we will conduct fNIRS testing in individuals under THC placebo as in
Phase I and in individuals in a THC plus alcohol placebo condition in order to further refine the algorithm for
MJ impairment detection such that fNIRS detection concurs with field sobriety testing with andgt specificity It
is anticipated that this level of specificity could be used in legal definitions of impairment This will warrant
commercialization which will be followed by prototype development and field testing An accurate quantitative
biological test that is user friendly and enables law enforcement to detect impairment from MJ has the potential
to dramatically change practice of law enforcement across the country and the world and thus has enormous
commercial potential as outlined in the Commercialization Plan and in accompanying letters of support The goal of this project is to develop test and refine a method to accurately and reliably detect marijuana MJ
impairment using a portable user friendly non invasive brain based modality MJ doubles the chance of
motor vehicle accidents yet there now exists no valid biologically based method to detect whether an
individual is acutely impaired from MJ The development of a reliable quantitative biological marker that
enables law enforcement officers to screen individuals whom they suspect are impaired from MJ will have
highly significant public health importance and enormous commercial potential

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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