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Journal Describes Anti-Cocaine Vaccine

June 18, 2012

A single-dose vaccine capable of providing immunity against the effects of cocaine offers a novel and groundbreaking strategy for treating cocaine addiction is described in an article published Instant Online in Human Gene Therapy, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (http://www.liebertpub.com) The article is available free online at the Human Gene Therapy website (http://www.liebertpub.com/hum).

“This is a very novel approach for addressing the huge medical problem of cocaine addiction,” says James M. Wilson, MD, PhD, 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 “AAVrh.10-Mediated Expression of an Anti-Cocaine Antibody Mediates Persistent Passive Immunization That Suppresses Cocaine-Induced Behavior,” (http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/hum.2011.178) a team of researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College (New York, NY), The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, CA), and Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) 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 authors Jonathan Rosenberg, et al.

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