After all the criticism of the study which discovered that rats on cocaine love Miles Davis, new research shows that “drug-addicted rodents” can be used for more valueble scientific purposes. Researchers have come up with an injectable solution that has been shown to reverse the effects of a cocaine overdose in mice.
The potential effects of a cocaine overdose can be devastating – including stroke, seizure, kidney failure and even death. But now, this newly discovered cocaine “antidote” could soon be available for emergency scenarios.
“Cocaine is a stimulant – so a huge amount affects the cardiovascular system,” said Kim Janda, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Immunology at Scripps and senior author of the study. “We’re trying to remove the cocaine from these major centers like the bloodstream and the brain, so that they won’t have any effect.”
The antidote is a “passive” cocaine vaccine – a solution of drug-specific human antibodies that can quickly bind to the cocaine in the body and render them ineffective.
“It’s like a sponge, you spill something and you go soak it up,” Janda said. “[When cocaine] is in the body, the antibodies bind to it and remove it either through the kidney or the liver – or it’s just degraded. The antidote either sequesters [cocaine] in the blood or pull them out of the brain. The antibodies can’t go into the brain themselves, but they act as a vacuum cleaner to remove it from the brain.”
After success with their experiments thus far, the researchers are eager to move on to human clinical trials – and potentially develop a viable treatment. A promising prospect, as cocaine is involved in more than 400,000 emergency-room visits and about 5,000 overdose deaths each year in the United States.
Source: Science Daily
Treweek, J., & Janda, K. (2012). An Antidote for Acute Cocaine Toxicity Molecular Pharmaceutics, 9 (4), 969-978 DOI: 10.1021/mp200588v
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