Progress toward a vaccine to fight cocaine addiction is reported

August 23, 1999

NEW ORLEANS, La., Aug. 23 -- A potential vaccine against the addictive effects of cocaine was described here today at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Kim D. Janda, Ph.D., a scientist at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, Calif., said he has induced the immune system to create specific antibodies that attack the cocaine molecule and keep it from reaching its target, the central nervous system.

Cocaine does not produce antibodies because its molecule is too small to be recognized by the immune system. Janda said he has overcome this obstacle by attaching a cocaine derivative to a larger protein, an effect he calls "painting a bulls-eye" on the derivative. Over a period of several weeks, the body builds up a sufficient amount of cocaine antibodies to create an effective vaccine in a process called "active immunization." Using laboratory cloning techniques, Janda's research team has also created an antibody which, when injected in large quantities, reduces the toxic effects of cocaine overdose.

Janda said animal studies are in the final stages of completion and human clinical trials should begin by the end of the year.
-end-
Dr. Janda will present this paper, MEDI 159, on Monday, August 23, at 11:15 a.m., at the Convention Center, R09

A nonprofit organization with a membership of nearly 159,000 chemists and chemical engineers, the American Chemical Society publishes scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. (http://www.acs.org)

American Chemical Society

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