Vaccine that blocks cocaine tested in mice

Jan. 4, 2011 at 6:02 PM
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ITHACA, N.Y., Jan. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say the discovery of a vaccine that blocks the action of cocaine on the brains of mice could lead to addiction treatments for humans.

Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York say the vaccine binds to, and sequesters, cocaine molecules before the drug reaches the brains of the animals, preventing any cocaine-related hyperactivity, a Cornell University release said Tuesday.

"Our very dramatic data shows that we can protect mice against the effects of cocaine, and we think this approach could be very promising in fighting addiction in humans," Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, a professor of genetic medicine at Weill Cornell who was the lead investigator, said.

The vaccine effect in mice lasted for at least 13 weeks, the researchers said.

"While other attempts at producing immunity against cocaine have been tried, this is the first that will likely not require multiple, expensive infusions, and that can move quickly into human trials," Crystal said. "There is currently no FDA-approved vaccine for any drug addiction."

Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the study was published in the online edition of Molecular Therapy.

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