An interesting study is being conducted that could cure cocaine addiction with one shot.
Currently, two vaccines are being developed that could block the drug before it reaches the brain.
Ronald Crystal, a researcher at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, has led up the teams developing both vaccines. These could be a new breed of ‘anti addiction’ treatments used to battle addictions to powerful drugs like cocaine.
Crystal realizes how big of a problem cocaine addiction is in today’s world, and how hard it is for people to quit using once they are addicted.
“It causes changes to behavior, it’s expensive and it’s illegal,” said Crystal. “If we could successfully develop a cocaine vaccine, it would really be a very positive social advance.”
Although the vaccines have already been successfully tested in monkey and mice injected with cocaine, they are not quite ready for humans. Crystal says that could be as soon as a few years though.
The two vaccines being developed are known as “active immunity” and “gene therapy”. Both systems create antibodies that seek out cocaine when it enters a person’s system, and prevents it from reaching the brain, which is where all addictive properties and physiological effects occur.
According to Crystal, if a person with the vaccine where to ingest cocaine, it would be blocked before reaching the brain and the person would never even feel the effects of the cocaine. Some worry that this may lead to harder addicts trying to “out-compete” the antibodies created by the vaccine by doing heavier amounts, and it is unclear if this would in fact out-compete the vaccine.
Toxicity of the injections are still being tested in animals, and Crystal says that they are hoping to begin vaccine trails in humans within a year.
Thomas Kosten, a researcher from Baylor College of Medicine mentioned a previous vaccine in the works for nicotine addiction faced some issues during the testing phase. “The human studies were disappointing,” said Kosten. “I hope Crystal has more success as they move to human studies.” Kosten is actually involved in a separate cocaine vaccine project. His method involves using a protein complex to activate the immune system. His method would require several injections to work, where Crystal’s method uses only a single injection.
If successful, these new developments could lead to similar vaccines for other addictive drugs, such as heroin, nicotine, and other substances. Crystal commented, “We’ve shown that it works for cocaine, and we think that it could work for a whole variety of drugs.”
If you know someone struggling with cocaine abuse, please contact us.
Original article: foxnews.com/
Photo courtesy of: flickr.com/
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