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Anti-Cocaine Vaccine Effective in Mouse Study

A single-dose vaccine capable of providing immunity against the effects of cocaine offers a novel and groundbreaking strategy for treating cocaine addiction [Referential web site: http://drugabuse.com/library/how-to-help-a-cocaine-addict/ and is described in an article published in the May 2012 issue of Human Gene Therapy. "This is a very novel approach for addressing the huge medical problem of cocaine addiction," says James M. Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, and Director of the Gene Therapy Program, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia. In the article, a team of researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College, The Scripps Research Institute, and Cornell University used a virus-based delivery vehicle in mice to transfer a gene that produces a protein capable of binding to cocaine present in the blood, preventing the cocaine from crossing into the brain. The protein is a monoclonal antibody that sequesters cocaine, making the vaccinated mice resistant to the drug's effects. Whereas unvaccinated mice exhibited hyperactivity when exposed to intravenous cocaine, the immunized mice showed no effects, according to the authors. [Press release] [Human Gene Therapy article]