Treating Cocaine Addiction with Viruses

La Jolla, CA. June 21, 2004 — Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have designed a potentially valuable tool for treating cocaine addiction by creating a modified “phage” virus that soaks up the drug inside the brain.They coated the virus with an antibody that binds to molecules of cocaine and helps to clear the drug from the brain, which could suppress the positive reinforcing aspects of the drug by eliminating the cocaine high.

“Typically one would think of a virus as a bad entity,” says principal investigator Kim D. Janda, Ph.D., who holds the Ely R. Callaway, Jr. Chair in Chemistry and is an investigator in The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at Scripps Research. “But we are taking advantage of a property it has—the ability to get into the central nervous system.”

The structure and design of the virus and its effect in rodent models are described in an article that will be published in an upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

Source: www.sciencedaily.com June 2004

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