High Hopes For Anti-Addiction Vaccine
The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that more than 5 million Americans over the age of 12 abused cocaine in 2008. While users can experience great euphoria and increased energy, they can also experience heart attacks, strokes, and seizures... among other things.
Thus far, vaccine technology has not been up to thwarting the effects of highly addictive drugs like cocaine. But a study, pre-published online yesterday in Molecular Therapy, suggests that an anti-addiction vaccine may soon be on its way.
Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College developed a vaccine consisting of a cocaine-like chemical and an inactive cold virus. They injected the vaccine into cocaine-addicted mice. Afterwards, they injected the mice with cocaine, but the mice did not run around or get hyperactive the way they had previously in reaction to the cocaine. The vaccine was effective because it binded to the cocaine in the bloodstream; the cocaine never reached the brain.
Dr. Ronald Crystal, lead investigator, and professor of genetic medicine at Weill Cornell, said that the effects of the vaccine lasted up to 13 weeks in the mice studied. There is no therapy for cocaine addition but, as this vaccine shows great promise, steps are being taken to move into human trials within the next two years.