The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) funded two behavioral studies for treating addiction and depression in the newly renovated animal laboratory facility at the National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines (UP) Manila. The facility was presented to DOST after a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 27, 2023.


DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr., Undersecretary for R&D Leah J. Buendia, and UP Manila Chancellor Dr. Carmencita Padilla led the brief ceremony and quick tour inside the facility. It will house the project entitled, “Cessation of Toluene (Rugby) Addiction in Adolescents: Using a Rodent Model” to test novel pharmacological and behavioral treatments for overcoming toluene craving.

“Research and Development (R&D) provides an avenue for our country to develop better policies and programs to address pressing issues like drug addiction,” says DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. “With the data gathered from these projects, we can develop treatment and support the health and well-being of Filipinos. “

This project aims to assess the effects of toluene withdrawal and craving on rats’, anxiety, and social interaction. It could also gauge the effectiveness of three treatments

(two pharmacological and one behavioral) in reducing the behavioral and neurological effects of toluene withdrawal.



The newly reconstructed facility will also host the project entitled, “Assessment Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Interactions of Selected Psychobiotic and Antidepressant Drugs in Depression-like Rat Model” which will provide documented data in preventing adverse drug events and achieving therapeutic success when psychobiotics are co-administered with antidepressant drugs, sertraline, and fluoxetine in depression-like rat models. The project also includes measurement of behavioral responses, biochemical levels, and drug concentrations.

These two projects are under the program entitled, “Novel Approaches to Treatment of Addiction and Depression using Animal Models,” which is monitored by DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD).