A team led by Ronald Crystal, Weill Cornell Medical College, USA, have covalently linking a cocaine analog to the capsid proteins of a noninfectious adenovirus, a common cold virus, to produce a long-lasting vaccine against the high of cocaine.
The vaccine suppresses the stimulant effects of the drug by preventing cocaine from reaching the brain rather than interfering with the neurological targets of the drug. The vaccine has been tested on mice and the effect was seen to last for at least 13 weeks, the longest time point evaluated in such an approach.
Since the vaccine will not require multiple expensive infusions, the researchers hope that it can move quickly into human trials. The approach could also be useful in treating other addictions, such as to nicotine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
- Cocaine Analog Coupled to Disrupted Adenovirus: A Vaccine Strategy to Evoke High-titer Immunity Against Addictive Drugs
M. J. Hicks, B. P. De, J. B. Rosenberg, J. T. Davidson, A. Y. Moreno et al.,
Molecular Therapy 2011.