Anti-Cocaine Vaccine in the Works

January 13, 2011

US researchers say they have developed a vaccine that may someday help cocaine addicts kick their habits. The vaccine combines a segment of the common cold virus with a molecule similar to cocaine, according to a study published in the online edition of Molecular Therapy.

US researchers say they have developed a vaccine that may someday help cocaine addicts kick their habits. The vaccine combines a segment of the common cold virus with a molecule similar to cocaine, according to a study published in the online edition of Molecular Therapy.

The vaccine is made of proteins from a harmless cold virus and a molecule that mimics cocaine. It works by turning the body's immune system against cocaine, preventing the drug from reaching the brain, said Ronald Crystal of the Department of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York in the study. Crystal led a team of researchers that vaccinated mice and then injected them with cocaine.

The study, which was funded by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, triggered an immune response in mice which prevented them from getting high on cocaine for as long as 13 weeks after they were vaccinated.

There is currently no FDA approved vaccine for any drug addiction. The drug will have to undergo extensive testing in humans to ensure its safety and effectiveness before it could receive an approval from the FDA.

The study