Vaccine Containing Cold Virus May Help Recovering Cocaine Addicts
January 5th, 2011
A recent study involving mice shows that a vaccine created from a segment of the common cold virus along with a cocaine-like molecule removes the high from cocaine. This vaccine awaits testing in humans and holds hope for struggling addicts.
The treatment essentially trains the immune system to react to cocaine before it reaches the brain’s pleasure center.
By separating the adenovirus, which is responsible for some cases of the common cold, researchers were able to hook the components that stimulate the immune system onto a molecule similar to cocaine. Cocaine itself doesn’t trigger an immune reaction; however, the cold virus add-on caused the immune system to attack the drug. This led the mice in the study to be rid of cocaine’s high, despite their regular exposure.
“There is currently no FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved vaccine for any drug addiction,” said Ronald Crystal, a genetic medicine professor at Weill Cornell Medical College who helped research this study. He expects the vaccine to have the best results in cocaine addicts who are aiming towards recovery, but it requires extensive human testing before it can obtain approval from the FDA.