Vaccine May Block the Cocaine High

Vaccine May Block the Cocaine High
Posted by FoM on March 13, 2000 at 17:01:14 PT
First Human Trials Under Way at Yale 
Researchers at Yale University believe that a vaccine that can keep cocaine users from getting high will be commercially available within a decade. TA-CD, as the vaccine is known, does not reduce the craving for cocaine, said Dr. Thomas Kosten, a professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and principal investigator in the first human trials of a vaccine to thwart substance abuse. 
Since cravings are not reduced, the vaccine must be combined with behavioral therapy for abusers. But so far, the vaccine, a chemical cousin of cocaine, appears to be safe and to produce antibodies that bind to cocaine in the bloodstream, making it inactive, Kosten said. "The hope is that we have a treatment that will be useful for people who have become abstinent from cocaine and want to remain that way, a relapse-prevention agent," Kosten said. Further research being conducted: It is too soon to tell whether the vaccine will block or merely blunt the effect of cocaine, said Frank Vocci, director of the division of treatment research and development at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which funded the Yale study and is part of the National Institutes of Health. Kosten's study was limited to evaluating the safety of the vaccine and the effect of varying doses on antibody production, Vocci said. Kosten's group is conducting a second study on dosage, while a third is planned to evaluate whether the vaccine blocks or blunts the effects of cocaine enough to be used for outpatient treatment. The National Drug Control Policy estimates there are 3.6 million chronic cocaine users in the United States who use the drug at least once a week, Vocci said, or about 2 percent of the adult population. The Yale study was conducted at a residential treatment facility and followed 34 former cocaine abusers who were divided into three groups. Two people in each group received a dummy vaccine, or placebo, while the rest got one of three levels of the TA-CD vaccine. Subjects received the vaccine as an initial injection and two booster shots. Booster shots needed: TA-CD produced significant amounts of antibodies, Kosten said. Animal studies by the vaccine's developer, Cantab Pharmaceuticals PLC of Cambridge, England, indicate that booster shots would be needed to keep the level of antibodies up. Research is still needed to fine-tune dosage and to determine the extent to which the antibodies block the psychological and physical effects of cocaine use, he said. If further studies support the vaccine's usefulness, it will be eight to 10 years before a cocaine-targeting vaccine would be commercially available. The vaccine is similar to a treatment already used in emergency rooms to combat toxic reactions to digitalis, a drug used to treat congestive heart failure, Vocci said. Several other vaccines, with differing modes of action, are also being studied for methamphetamine, PCP and nicotine. "Cocaine is a highly addicting, disruptive drug," Vocci said. "If you have 1 to 2 percent of the adult U.S. population in need of treatment, then the facilitation of treatment by these approaches would have a decided public health benefit." By Deborah Wormser Deborah Wormser is an correspondent.New Haven, Conn. ( March 13, 2000 ęCopyright 2000 APB Online, Inc. CannabisNews Articles On Cocaine:
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Comment #5 posted by observer on March 14, 2000 at 20:17:33 PT
vaccines ...
> The vaccine is similar to a treatment already used in emergency rooms to combat toxic reactions to digitalis,I said: " ... but never a non-polypeptide."I should have read more closely: I think digitalis would be an example of a non-protein...- - -( Like interactive 3D molecular models?after you get the plug-in here:$uid&key=$key&id=1then take this antibody tour! more (chime) molecular model links: )
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Comment #4 posted by observer on March 14, 2000 at 12:29:11 PT
Forced psych. treatments...
information about forced treatments on people, forced outpatient drugging, etc. :
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Comment #3 posted by observer on March 14, 2000 at 12:05:59 PT
re: vaccine, force
Thanks for your reply!> because the cocaine binding sites are complementary to the shape of cocaine so they wouldn't recognize the endogenous proteins cocaine (and dopamine and serotonin) bind to, but the antibodies themselves might cause a reaction.Yes, I agree that these vaccine-generated antibodies won't bind with the receptor sites per se, but I wonder if they will bind to molecules that are shaped *like* cocaine in some way. Presumably cocaine works by altering the reuptake of neurotransmitters in certain brain receptor sites. I'm wondering if there are other naturally occurring brain chemicals (maybe not necessarily dopamine or serotonin) that will also be affected by this vaccine. Major neurotransmitters have been identified; there are over 300. But are there others that we've yet to discover? For example, will some people suffer from ahedonia after taking this vaccine? ... Admittedly not likely but it will be interesting (in a morbid way) to see what happens to the first several thousand "volunteers" for this vaccine.I wonder, also, would this be the first use of a vaccine that is intended to inactivate substances that modify brain chemistry? I've heard of vaccines developed against bacteria [protozoa?] and viruses, (the immune system recognizes a specific protean), but never a non-polypeptide. If it works, and doesn't have unpleasant side effects, I imagine compulsive users might go for it voluntarily. But given that the judicial system happily give people the "choice" or prison or "treatment" (i.e. duress, force, coercion), I can all too easily see judges sentencing people to this vaccine. Just a few thoughts on the matter.
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Comment #2 posted by bcg on March 14, 2000 at 11:13:47 PT:
It won't bind the cocaine binding sites...
because the cocaine binding sites are complementary to the shape of cocaine so they wouldn't recognize the endogenous proteins cocaine (and dopamine and serotonin) bind to, but the antibodies themselves might cause a reaction. The larger issue, though is what you mentioned. This treatment (as they said) does nothing to end the drug-associated craving. Plus, the antibodies would be surmountable, so if you REALLY REALLY wanted to get cranked, you still could. But once again, the malignancy of the WOsD causes spillover. There really are people with problems, but forced treatment is no treatmet at all. The threat of the government forcing this treatment on anyone makes everyone (even me, a cocaine addiction treatment researcher) skeptical.  
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Comment #1 posted by observer on March 13, 2000 at 17:31:45 PT
Then They'll Switch to ...
Then They'll Switch to ... Amphetamine or methamphetamines, or dextro-methamphetamines, or benzphetamine or Obetrol or Selegiline or whatever. (Meth at least is cheaper, and can and is manufactured everywhere and anywhere, but people tend to become more dangerous on it than cocaine.) This reminds me a little of Disulfram (aka Antabuse) a drug which will make you puke if you drink alcohol. Sometimes people are ordered to take it. Given the current freedom-loving attitudes of the police-state politicians everywhere local, stane and federal, one doesn't have to use to much imagination to consider that forced-anti-cocaine vaccines be given to prisoners, schoolchildren and any/everyone else. I wonder if some who get this vaccine develop auto-immune disorders resulting from immine reactions to the endogenous ligands which naturally bind to the receptor sites to which cocaine also binds...
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