Over at Addiction Inbox, Dirk Hanson reports on findings from a trial of the new cocaine vaccine and provides a succint description of its mechanism:
The study, which appeared in the Archives of General Psychiatry, demonstrated that the TA-CD vaccine could blunt the effects of cocaine in some, but not all, patients. The vaccine works by causing the production of antibodies, which attach themselves to cocaine molecules, making the molecules too big too pass effectively through the blood-brain barrier.Of 115 addicts involved in the study, only 38 % produced sufficient antibodies to dull the effects of cocaine, Rachel Saslow of theWashington Post reported. And among the high-antibodies group, only 53 % stayed free of cocaine 50 % of the time. “Immunization did not achieve complete abstinence from cocaine use,” said Thomas Kosten of Baylor college of Medicine, one of the authors of the paper.Moreover, in some of the study participants for whom antibodies made cocaine a disappointing high, researchers found cocaine levels in the body to be as much as ten times higher than previous levels of usage—an obvious attempt to overcome the vaccine’s effectiveness. There were no overdoses, according to Kosten.