Vaccine stops cocaine from producing addicting high

According to estimates the number of Americans with some sort of substance abuse or dependence is 22.2 million and -- a cost estimated at three times more than the War on Cancer.

Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine have developed a vaccine that is currently in clinical trials that doesn’t fight what most consider to be a real illness or disease like cancer or AIDS. Rather, this vaccine stimulates the inoculated immune system to combat the illegal drug cocaine.

The scientists took cholera proteins and bound inactive cocaine molecules to the surface of the protein. After inoculation the body’s immune system is able to build antibodies against cocaine and blocks the drug from reaching the brain when ingested, thereby preventing it from producing the addicting high.

Dr. Tom Kosten, professor of psychiatry told the Houston Chronicle, “For people who have a desire to stop using, the vaccine should be very useful. At some point, most users will give in to temptation and relapse, but those for whom the vaccine is effective won't get high and will lose interest.”

Some argue that the vaccine would raise ethical issues surrounding who would get inoculated. Others see the vaccine as something everyone should get along with childhood vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella.

The researchers say that if the vaccine proves to be effective and passes its clinical trials leading to FDA approval for widespread use it would lead to more drugs for combating addiction such as vaccines for combating heroine and nicotine addiction. That would mean at some point in the future we could chose to be inoculated against smoking.

Another unique approach to combating a medical problem with medication was reported on earlier this week by DailyTech. Researchers have developed a nasal spray that combats against sleepiness partly funded by DARPA. The medication is being looked at to help keep troops alert and will likely be used to treat the sleep disorder narcolepsy if it gets FDA approval.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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