Thursday, January 3, 2008

Researchers seeking approval of cocaine vaccine

Two Baylor College of Medicine researchers in Houston are working on a cocaine vaccine they hope will become the first-ever medication to treat people hooked on the drug. "For people who have a desire to stop using, the vaccine should be very useful," said Dr. Tom Kosten, a psychiatry professor who is being assisted in the research by his wife, Therese, a psychologist and neuroscientist. "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."

The immune system — unable to recognize cocaine and other drug molecules because they are so small — can't make antibodies to attack them. To help the immune system distinguish the drug, Kosten attached inactivated cocaine to the outside of inactivated cholera proteins.

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