Potential new drug for cocaine addiction and overdose

Sep 15, 2008
Chemists have developed a substance that could help fight addictions and overdoses of cocaine. Credit: US Drug Enforcement Administration

Chemists are reporting development of what they term the most powerful substance ever discovered for eliminating cocaine from the body, an advance that could lead to the world's first effective medicine for fighting overdoses and addictions of the illicit drug. Their findings are scheduled for the Sept. 24 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

In the new study, Chang-Guo Zhan and colleagues point out no effective anti-cocaine medication currently exists for cocaine abuse. One of the most promising approaches focuses on substances that mimic butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), a natural blood protein that helps break down and inactivate the drug, researchers say. However, natural BChE is too weak and ineffective for medical use, the researchers note.

The researchers describe design and produce the most potent, stable BChE structure ever produced. In lab studies, that form of BChE broke down, or metabolized, cocaine 2,000 times faster than the body's natural version of BChE, the scientists say, noting that reducing levels of the drug in the blood is a key to fighting overdose in humans.

The substance also prevented convulsions and death when injected into mice that were given overdoses of cocaine, they note.

Article: "Most Efficient Cocaine Hydrolase Designed by Virtual Screening of Transition States"; dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja803646t

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: A refined approach to proteins at low resolution

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Plant-derived scavengers prowl the body for nerve toxins

Nov 23, 2010

The brain is forever chattering to itself, via electrical impulses sent along its hard-wired neuronal "Ethernet." These e-messages are translated into chemical transmissions, allowing communication across ...

Recommended for you

A refined approach to proteins at low resolution

Sep 19, 2014

Membrane proteins and large protein complexes are notoriously difficult to study with X-ray crystallography, not least because they are often very difficult, if not impossible, to crystallize, but also because ...

Base-pairing protects DNA from UV damage

Sep 19, 2014

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich researchers have discovered a further function of the base-pairing that holds the two strands of the DNA double helix together: it plays a crucial role in protecting ...

Smartgels are thicker than water

Sep 19, 2014

Transforming substances from liquids into gels plays an important role across many industries, including cosmetics, medicine, and energy. But the transformation process, called gelation, where manufacturers ...

Separation of para and ortho water

Sep 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Not all water is equal—at least not at the molecular level. There are two versions of the water molecule, para and ortho water, in which the spin states of the hydrogen nuclei are different. ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gmurphy
5 / 5 (2) Sep 15, 2008
sniff sniff
Sanescience
not rated yet Sep 15, 2008
Hmm, just need an implantable device that detects the presence of cocaine and releases this drug into the system and POOF, no more addiction to cocaine.