A new vaccine targeting cocaine addiction has just moved on to its next phase of research and has been granted permission to perform a study using human patients. A previous study was performed using rats that yielded enough information to proceed to the next level.
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian are now setting up trials to study the vaccine on people. The Phase I clinical study will include 30 subjects at first. These tests are particularly exciting for the medical research community because a successful vaccine could help save thousands of lives from this form of substance abuse.
“Cocaine addiction is a huge problem that affects more than 2 million people in the United States, and results in more than 500,000 annual visits to emergency rooms. While there are drugs like methadone designed to treat heroin, there aren’t any therapeutics available to treat cocaine addiction. We hope that our vaccine will change that,” stated Dr. Ronald Crystal, one of the leaders of the study.
In order to participate in the study, volunteers will have to pass an examination and interview process. One of the more difficult qualifications will be that each participant will have to be clean from cocaine for thirty days. They will have to pass urine tests throughout those thirty days to ensure sobriety. Once the participants pass the qualification round of the study they will be split into groups of ten. Seven out of the ten will receive the vaccine, while the other three will receive a placebo. This will be repeated for the other two groups.
In addition to administering the vaccine, researchers will also be interviewing the study subjects to find out about their cravings and mental status. Patients will also undergo medical testing throughout the study to determine their levels of anti-cocaine antibodies.
If the vaccine proves to be successful for the test subjects’ cocaine addicts everywhere may have a better chance of eliminating the drug from their lives. Oftentimes cocaine addicts complain that the cravings and urges to use are so great that it is impossible to maintain sobriety, this vaccine may provide the help many of these addicts are looking for.