06 Nov The Future of Drug Prevention: Fighting Cocaine via Vaccine
It’s a fact that drugs can destroy people’s lives by tearing apart families, eroding personal relationships, and sinking careers and professional ambitions. Some people want to quit but can’t seem to shake the urge to use. But what if fighting the grips of addiction was as simple as taking a vaccine?
That’s what New York researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College sought to find out. Cornell investigators partnered with vaccine company, Immunovaccine Inc. this past summer to administer an anti-cocaine vaccine to lab mice to determine its success. The details of the study are outlined in an article found in the business section of The Chronicle Herald.
The hope is that the vaccine will stop cocaine addicts from feeling the high by blocking the drug’s effects on the brain. Researchers tested the vaccine out on groups of mice, with each group containing five to ten animals each. The results did indicate a strong antibody response as cocaine did not reach the brains of the mice.
According to Marc Mansour, lead science and operating officer for Immunovaccine, cocaine doesn’t reach the brain immediately. The process takes about 30 minutes, and the new vaccine releases antibodies that attach to the substance the minute it floods the bloodstream.
What investigators found is that the cocaine from the experiment stayed contained in the blood and was prevented from affecting the brain.
The next step of the study is to raise funding for clinical trials and move toward testing on humans. Per data published in the World Drug Report 2005, 14 million individuals across the globe use cocaine. Addressing this issue would lessen the burden that addiction has on society in the form of healthcare and other related expenses.
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