A vaccine to treat cocaine addiction?

Having to contend with a cocaine addiction is anything but a walk in the park. This drug addiction is actually associated with numerous medical, psychological and social problems. This includes an increase in crime rates and violence, as well as the transmission of potentially deadly infections such as HIV and hepatitis. Although the exact number of Canadians who are addicted to cocaine remains unclear, a poll taken in 2004 revealed that one out of 10 people admitted to having used the drug at least once in their life. Because it quickly causes dependence, users often have a very difficult time freeing themselves from the clutches of cocaine.

Having to contend with a cocaine addiction is anything but a walk in the park. This drug addiction is actually associated with numerous medical, psychological and social problems. This includes an increase in crime rates and violence, as well as the transmission of potentially deadly infections such as HIV and hepatitis. Although the exact number of Canadians who are addicted to cocaine remains unclear, a poll taken in 2004 revealed that one out of 10 people admitted to having used the drug at least once in their life. Because it quickly causes dependence, users often have a very difficult time freeing themselves from the clutches of cocaine.

An American research team has developed a vaccine that could help cocaine users liberate themselves from the powers of this substance. This vaccine incites the body into producing antibodies that attack cocaine. When the drug enters the bloodstream, the antibodies bind themselves to it and prevent it from reaching the brain. Consequently, because cocaine is unable to penetrate the brain, it is also unable to produce the euphoric high sought by users.

If and when the vaccine proves safe and effective in subsequent studies, and is approved by the regulatory bodies, it would be the first medication approved for the treatment of cocaine addiction. If all goes well, the vaccine could be offered in the United States in just four years. The aforementioned scientists are also working on vaccines to treat addictions to heroine, nicotine and methamphetamines. This could indeed be a concrete and very original application of immunology!

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