Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical Center found a vaccine by using elements of a common cold virus that elicit an immune response and linking it to a chemical that is similar in structure to cocaine. They injected the vaccine into normal mice and found a strong immune response was generated by the vaccine. They also found that mice who received the vaccine were less hyperactive after ingesting cocaine -- even large, recurring doses -- compared with those that didn't get the vaccine.
The vaccine could be obliging for people who are already addicted to cocaine and are trying to stop using because it may wipe out much of the drug before it reaches key centers of the brain that respond with pleasure, said the lead author of the study, Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, a lecturer of genetic medicine, in a news release.
"Our very dramatic data shows that we can defend mice against the effects of cocaine, and we think this advance could be very promising in fighting addiction in humans," Crystal said. "While other attempts at producing immunity against cocaine have been tried, this is the first that will likely not want multiple, expensive infusions, and that can move quickly into human trials."