Scientists led by the University of Illinois' Sue Carter have shown exactly how oxytocin creates that deep sense of attachment and love. It seemed like this neurochemical could be a wonder drug, healing troubled marriages, making lovers true, making children feel secure and loved.
The only problem was, to evoke the bonding effects of oxytocin, Carter had to inject it into the brain. Ouch. Moreover, the effects wear off quickly. Most people would rather stay single.
Today, a small biotech company made an announcement that could change that. Nastech was awarded a patent for using a long-lasting synthetic version of oxytocin to treat breast cancer and psychiatric disorders.
Nastech has a method of delivering drugs via nasal spray; soaking the nasal mucous membranes with substances gives them a better chance of penetrating the blood/brain barrier, according to the company. No needles in the brain.
The patent mentions use of carbetocin, an oxytocin analog, for possible treatment of autism and obsessive compulsive disorder.
If Nastech can get oxytocin into people easily and effectively, it could revolutionize treatment of reactive attachment disorder as well.