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Cocaine Vaccine In the Works

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the runnin-round-my-brain dept.

Biotech 724

martyros writes "Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine are performing clinical trials of a vaccine that teaches the immune system to attack cocaine, preventing it from giving a high. The vaccine is made by attaching inactivated cocaine molecules to the outside of inactivated cholera proteins. When the immune system attacks the cholera proteins, it also 'learns' the cocaine molecules as well. The result is that the immune system 'recognizes the potent naked drug when it's ingested. The antibodies bind to the cocaine and prevent it from reaching the brain, where it normally would generate the highs that are so addictive.'" An earlier story from The Star notes that human trials for vaccines against both cocaine and nicotine are well under way.

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Analogs (4, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896590)

I hope this wundervacine will not attach to some of the body's natural painkillers.

Re:Analogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21896770)

or the other 'caines for pains. novocaine etc etc

Re:Analogs (5, Interesting)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896842)

Is it cocaine specific or does it effect response to a whole class of alkaloids? I would truely hate to be in the dentist chair with drill ready only to find, rather quickly, how well this vacine potentially could work.

Re:Analogs (0, Troll)

afxgrin (208686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897164)

I fucking hope this thing works for users who inject it... because snorting coke isn't enough for long term users.

Re:Analogs (3, Informative)

flu1d (664635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896864)

Many of the anesthetics found in hospitals today are based on cocaine now (also opiates and I'm sure they're working on that too), if given this 'vaccine' you'd better not have any kind of an accident.

Re:Analogs (2, Funny)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897042)

"you'd better not have any kind of an accident."

Ah, dont worry, muscle relaxants will still work. Rather like lethal injection, except you get to live to tell the story.

Re:Analogs (0)

cmdr_beeftaco (562067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897218)

The only time you could get high is when you immune system is weakened. Suddenly a black market for chemo drugs just what Big Pharma is after...

Possibly useful, but... (5, Interesting)

unchiujar (1030510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896598)

Would you vaccinate your child ?

Re:Possibly useful, but... (4, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896670)

Ofcourse I won't. I wouldn't deny them the wonderful experience of highly addicting and dangerous drugs.

Re:Possibly useful, but... (-1)

stevejsmith (614145) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896866)

Oh, don't worry. Once they discover that they're immune to cocaine, they'll move pretty quickly onto meth, crack, and their best friend's ADD meds. (Remember: Cocaine is not physically addictive. Crack and meth, however, are.)

Re:Possibly useful, but... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21896988)

Once they discover that they're immune to cocaine, they'll move pretty quickly onto ...crack

Hey genius, what do you think the active ingredient in crack is? I'll give you a hint, it's not the baking soda.

Re:Possibly useful, but... (4, Funny)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896692)

No, but happily my CEO.

Re:Possibly useful, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21896700)

Exactly. Viruses are something your kids might encounter, but don't have a choice about if they partake of it or not. Cocaine on the other hand already has a vaccine: parents that educate their kids on what it can do to you, and kids using their brain.

What a worthless invention.

Not worthless (3, Interesting)

crow (16139) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896766)

It's being developed for use in drug rehab programs. For people who want to quit, but are having difficulty, or have quit, but might relapse, this could be incredibly helpful. Of course, most of the discussion is around the potential to use this as a preventative measure, which is a very different issue.

Re:Not worthless (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897064)

Even *if* this were to end up marketed as a "preventative measure" - I can't really see it gaining much traction as a "required vaccine".

They've already got a vaccine to prevent HPV (genital warts), but it caused a huge firestorm of controversy when they started suggesting it become a mandatory vaccine (despite it only being effective if given to the younger population who haven't been exposed to HPV yet).

And here, HPV is a legitimate (and un-curable) disease, known to cause high incidents of cervical cancer in women. Cocaine isn't something people just "catch" involuntarily.

Re:Possibly useful, but... (4, Insightful)

kieran (20691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896708)

Would you vaccinate your child ?

Or your employees? Or your signed artists?

Re:Possibly useful, but... (1, Funny)

multisync (218450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896798)

Would you vaccinate your child ?

Not with this, but if they came up with a "religious brain-washing" vaccine, I'd give it some serious thought.

Re:Possibly useful, but... (4, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896822)

I would if I caught her doing cocaine.

Re:Possibly useful, but... (4, Insightful)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896882)

Would you vaccinate your child ?

I doubt it would matter much. There's a lot of evidence that drug abusers will simply switch drugs when their drug of choice becomes unavailable.

It's a real comfort to know that meth, oxy and alcohol abuse will still be available to our children after we save them from the scourge of cocaine.

Re:Possibly useful, but... (1, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897026)

Oh come on, can't you think of anything more controversial and inflamatory than that? Everyone caught using cocaine will be required to take this! And it's just the beginning! Soon EVERYTHING that feels good will have a vaccine! No more mary jane! And we will all be required to take it!! The end of SEX! The government is ruining everything!! PRIVACY is threatened!! All is lost!!! GLOBAL WARMING!!!! WHO IS THINKING OF THE CHILDREN?????????????

Great idea! (5, Funny)

Funkcikle (630170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896646)

Injecting yourself with "inactive" cocaine AND cholera! What could possibly go wrong?

I'd like some anti-freeze to drink afterwards, please.

We inject ourselves with botulism toxin (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896896)

So it'll be no surprise to hear of people using this stuff.

For unusual values of "we" (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897180)

I'll agree with that. I personally have no intention of doing so.

Re:Great idea! (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896958)

Both are treatable, though. It's not like they are injecting you with AIDS and dimethylmercury.

Re:Great idea! (0, Flamebait)

Falladir (1026636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897212)

Cocaine isn't poison. Trust me, there's no way they're going to put enough cocaine in you to hurt you. It's not cheap. Other than the addictive properties, it's a very benign drug.

Oblig Orwell (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896652)

Next Up on the party's list: The Orgasm.

Ob. Beer / Simpsons (2, Funny)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896756)

Homer: Beer...The cause of, and solution to all of life's problems.

Re:Oblig Orwell (4, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896758)

The orgasm releases neurotransmitters that are similar to cocaine. Perhaps those vaccinated against cocaine would never have orgasms, or reduced orgasms. In fact, dopamine is critical for a lot of enjoyment. Maybe this will spawn a 'deadheading' procedure. Piss off the wrong person or government and you will never enjoy anything ever again. You wouldn't even want revenge, there would be no joy in it.

On the other hand, a sperm vaccine would be a nice alternative to having your tubes tied. Of course, there's the nightmare scenario where this treatment latches onto a live bit of cholera or whatever and spreads, neutering all humans.

Oblig Futurama (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896862)

Choleraspermbot: Hey baby, wanna neuter all humans?

Re:Oblig Orwell (4, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897134)

From what I understand though, the immune system is locked out of the brain proper thanks to the blood brain barrier, so this drug shouldn't have any effect on naturally occurring opiates. My high school anatomy class never got into where the opiates are generated when someone has an orgasm (that would have made it far too interesting) but I'm guessing it's in the brain directly and not in the sex organs (where they would have to filter through the bloodstream before getting to the brain). Given how orgasms tend to be immediately gratifying, I'm guessing the production is local.

Then Vaccinate This (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21896660)

Obstructor of Justice [] .

Thanks for your anti-BushCo support.

K. Trout. M.D.

YesYesYesYes YesYesYesYesYesYes (3, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896668)

ZOMG I'msoexcitedtohearaboutthis I'vebeenwaiting suchalongtimeforsomething tohelpmekickthiscrazycravingand theallnightravingand theallnightdancingandtheclubs withthecrappytechnomusic ZOMGisthatablacksquirrel whenisOprahcomingonmyheartispounding wherecanIbugythisvaccine!

Re:YesYesYesYes YesYesYesYesYesYes (1)

Futile Rhetoric (1105323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896746)

I think it's a bit late for you, sadly. Maybe your children?

Alternative to drug testing? (4, Interesting)

crow (16139) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896682)

How would this work as an alternative to drug testing? If the vaccines for various drugs were easily obtained (say, 10 years from now), then could potential employers, private schools, and such require the vaccines instead of requiring testing as they do now? Would this be better or worse?

Re:Alternative to drug testing? (1)

Jonboy X (319895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896732)

In the US, I don't think your employer can legally make you take any drug as a condition of employment.

Re:Alternative to drug testing? (3, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896800)

Yeah, they can. Hospital workers especially have to have been vaccinated for TB, among other things..

Re:Alternative to drug testing? (1)

mcsqueak (1043736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896874)

could potential employers, private schools, and such require the vaccines instead of requiring testing as they do now? Would this be better or worse?

I think this could be a very real, and very scary, scenario that could play out eventually. Before I started university I was required to get a vaccine for some sort of illness (I can't remember now, it's been so long). I could VERY easily see employers that already mandate drug testing to require employees to get this. After all, "what harm will it do if you're not using drugs?" right? Or: "It's for the safety of our workers". To me, it's basically the same argument that anti-privacy whackjobs use: "if you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to hide".

Sure, I don't use coke but I don't exactly want to be modified against my will either.

Too many legitimate drugs are abused, however. (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896926)

An interesting idea, but if you were able to produce a vaccine that would nullify the effects of the majority of drugs that are abused, you're likely to wipe out the effectiveness of many commonly prescribed painkillers in the process. Take Vicodin for example. It's known to be abused and mildly addictive. Now although the vast majority of people aren't hooked on it, would it be worth it to render this drug ineffective to the masses just because of the few junkies that are downing this medication on a regular basis?

I see something like this not being used pre-emptively, but rather as another tool for rehabilitating those who suffer from a drug addiction.

Cocaine has valid medical uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21896706)

It's used in ophthalmology to test for something; I can't remember what. It's also used in other procedures. Will this be affected?

Re:Cocaine has valid medical uses (0)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896790)

Going to the dentist will become much more painful - Novacaine and Lidocaine that they use to deaden pain-sensing nerves are nothing but cocaine with a different name.

I couldn't disagree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21896710)

I'm pretty addictive to a substance myself, and if I don't get my high, what do I do? I do more until I get it!

Re:I couldn't disagree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21896858)

Was this a failed Soviet Russia joke?

I wonder if the US would support this (1)

BlueshiftVFX (1158033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896716)

with all the CIA/DEA money to be made from drugs, and keeping part of the people zombified. If successful, I wonder if this treatment will ever see the light of day.

Re:I wonder if the US would support this (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897114)

A lot of towns actually support the use of giving Heroine addicts an "OD Kit" with the drop that stops the receptors for Heroine and stops an OD since many OD victims don't call 911 or seek treatment because of the legality of the substance. If these are along the same lines and uses I could see this as a benefit.

Yay! (2, Insightful)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896730)

Ah goody. Another blow landed in the Puritans' War On Fun. Soon, we'll all be living as their god intended, with no frivolous distractions at all! What could be more satisfying?

Re:Yay! (3, Insightful)

operagost (62405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896854)

What makes you think "puritans" are behind this?

While I do see (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896742)

a use for this, as court mandated immunizations of drug addicts who go in and out of the criminal system on a regular basis. I would major issues if the gov was to require this in all people, similar to other immunizations that you get when your a child.

Re:While I do see (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897022)

as court mandated immunizations ... I would major issues if the gov was to require this in all people

The way our legal system is working these days, it'll be part of some mandatory sentencing for anybody with any narcotics offense, maybe they'll even amend the constitution to allow them to force this treatment, merely on the suspicion of cocaine use.

It's no more out-there an idea than civil forfeiture was. We must win the "war on drugs" at all costs! And there's no way that society could deal with societies problems, on a personal level. No, big momma government must protect us!

Re:While I do see (1)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897040)

Unfortunately it won't be the Government, it will be your employer.. (with the help, of course, of a government program)

As for getting the kids 'treated' that's easy; our corporate overlords just insist that in the future they will not employ anyone who was not 'treated' near birth. After all, what sort of parent would possibly refuse? only 'bad' ones huh?

Give me the sales pitch. (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896748)

I've never tried cocaine. Should I?

Re:Give me the sales pitch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21896828)

You're not moving...I demand movement! 100K seconds is too long to sit still!

Re:Give me the sales pitch. (1)

heauxmeaux (869966) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896856)

It breaks down like this...
You know how when you are with that special guy you just picked up at the Man-Hole? You know that burning sensation you get in your junk the next morning?
It's wayyyyy better than that.

Re:Give me the sales pitch. (1)

kieran (20691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897110)

Only if you can't afford it. It's kinda dangerous if you can (and also if you have heart problems).

Basically it makes you feel really f**king great, for about 20-30mins, which is nice but given the cost not a very long-lasting effect. If you're going to try it just the once, save it for sex.

Re:Give me the sales pitch. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897236)

Err, no.

It'll leave your wallet lighter, your nose sore and you'll have the hangover of the century because it makes you think you can drink like bacchus himself.

But then I'm probably getting old, I don't wish to pay such a price for my fun any more.

Gibson called it... (4, Insightful)

lwhalen (231260) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896764)

Wasn't this a subplot of Neuromancer or something, where the main character was forcibly taken away from his various addictions by having his liver modified to not process the various chemicals?

Vaccine? (1)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896768)

I would probably hesitate to label this as a vaccine. I know technically it kind of is, but people will immediately thing "Innoculation," which I would argue against. This will probably end up being a highly effective treatment for Cocaine addicts, if it proves to be safe, and passes FDA standards (unfortunately, the two aren't always the same...).

Nicotine Vaccine? (1)

MagickalMyst (1003128) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896776)

I'm betting Phillip Morris will make the first and last purchase of this wonderful product. :)

Re:Nicotine Vaccine? (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896912)

I'm betting Phillip Morris will make the first and last purchase of this wonderful product. :)

Are you kidding? The single entity making the most money off of every pack of cigs sold is the govt. The sacrosanct S-chip program is paid for by cigarette taxes, the last thing the govt. wants is for people to suddenly quit smoking.

Bad idea (0)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896782)

This seems like an extremely bad idea.

- Occupy your immune system fighting something that's not an infection
- Make yourself immune to the benefits of a whole class of painkillers

I suggest just not getting addicted to Cocaine instead.

Re:Bad idea (1)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896900)

I'd vote for it being another tool (not a panacea) in the fight against Cocaine addictions. It can be used to break strong addictions, but you wouldn't want to use it to innoculate the general populace. And it wouldn't eliminate a whole class of pain killers. It might affect some of the opiates, but Morphine would still work, and I'd be surprised if Codine and Vicodin are a major issue if you have someone that's dying due to Cocaine dependence.

we've always heard the legalization lobby (1, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896788)

talk about treating highly addictive drugs and their addiction as a disease, and not a crime

what say them to this? interesting revealing of the colors here

aside: my belief is that marijuana, lsd, anything nonaddictive should be legal, but highly addictive drugs like coke, meth, heroin should be illegal

Re:we've always heard the legalization lobby (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897024)

Alcohol is addictive.

Cocaine on the other hand is not.

You do the math.

cocaine is highly addictive (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897184)

alcohol is moderately addictive

marijuana is also moderately addictive

nicotine is highly addictive, but it's not incapacitating

here, some help for you []

you have to be in the upper right quadrant to be illegal: the special evil cocktail of high addiction, high incapacitation

everything else should be legal (lsd: highly incapacitating, but not addictive: legal, nicotine: highly addictive, but not incapacitating, legal)

only meth, cocaine, and the opiates carry the double whammy of viral addictiveness and heavy incapacitation

such that even though all the lessons of prohibition apply to these 3 drugs too, the negative effects of the actual drugs themselves are still worse than all of the lessons of prohibition

Re:we've always heard the legalization lobby (1)

MrEkted (764569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897148)

You forgot alcohol.

Great, so now they'll just be snorting Adderall! (5, Interesting)

stevejsmith (614145) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896808)

Oh, great. Cocaine prohibition produced crack cocaine and meth, crackdowns on ingredients to make ecstacy produced PMA, heroin prohibition produces all sorts of gross things, etc., etc. Cocaine is actually one of the safer stimulants out there (compared to its main rivals, crack and meth, which emerged due to cocaine's astronomical price thanks to prohibition). This insane drug whack-a-mole game is producing even more deadly and impure drugs. While we could be ingesting small and known quantities of pure marijuana, MDMA, cocaine, opiates, shrooms, and LSD, we're instead ingesting unknown quantities of who-knows-what. Most drug deaths are caused by adulterants, not the pure drug itself.

Re:Great, so now they'll just be snorting Adderall (1)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897050)

"Safer" stimulant? The way it rots your septum and its highly addictive nature... only a cocaine dealer would say such a thing.

Re:Great, so now they'll just be snorting Adderall (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897068)

I definately agree with you that trying to outlaw a drug just leads to the development and adoption of new ones, but I don't think that means this is useless. If this was given only to cocaine addicts who wanted (for themselves) to get clean but can't because they are addicted it could be highly effective. If given to every kid before he enters college, pretty much worthless and even arguably dangerous.

A Social Problem (1)

geekmansworld (950281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896812)

It's an intriguing scientific idea... but there are undertones of social control which are somewhat unsettling. Would children face mandatory vaccination? Or would we merely target individuals who are beyond hope of recovering from addiction?

In the end, it's irrelevant anyway. It's the same type of thinking as trying to make a disc format which is "uncrackable". People will simply switch to another drug: there's plenty of them.

If you really want to kill the drugs, address the social problems and mental health diseases that drug use stems from. It's a corny, overused line, but "talk to your kids about drugs".

Forcing people to do things never works very well. Educate them and let them make the choice. If it's truly the right choice, they'll make it by themselves.

Re:A Social Problem (2, Interesting)

astaldaran (1040462) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897086)

Currently in many states, in order for a child to go to school he is required to have certain vaccines; could this be added to it? while it sounds good (drugs won't appeal to them, because it does nothing) but to essentially take free choice away is quite scary. I don't think we should use science to manipulate law abiding citizens; who knows one day we may need to use the properties of cocain for something good. However I do think this could be very useful. People could voluntarily take it (if they want an extra reason not to be tempted), they could also take it for rehab, but perhaps the biggest use would be on criminals. Currently we have far to many drug addicts in prisons, costing us loads, so perhaps just like we castrate certain sex offenders, maybe we should get rid of the high for drug offenders. Even better, we somehow infect the distribution of crack,coke, etc and destroy the whole market. The biggest concern with the second approach of using it to punish criminals though is the fact (as someone else pointed out) that people can just turn to another drug...and you know what if you are use to high's and you don't get it now. Well you are going to find something else to replace it. It seems like this technology would probably be very diverse though; you could immunize them to many drugs, not just one.

Re:A Social Problem (1)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897204)

You're correct that the means by which such medical techniques are used is at least as important as the efficacy of the techniques themselves. At least the researchers involved are viewing this only as a means for addicts to voluntarily kick the habit. From TFA:

Baylor College of Medicine researchers in Houston are working on a cocaine vaccine they hope will become the first-ever medication to treat people hooked on the drug. "For people who have a desire to stop using, the vaccine should be very useful," said Dr. Tom Kosten, a psychiatry professor who is being assisted in the research by his wife, Therese, a psychologist and neuroscientist. "At some point, most users will give in to temptation and relapse, but those for whom the vaccine is effective won't get high and will lose interest."
I highly doubt that the FDA (for instance) would ever approve the use of such vaccines on the population at large, since the risk of unknown interactions is probably higher than any benefit of reducing future addiction (since most of the population doesn't end up being addicted...). I don't think we're ever going to see mandatory vaccination against illicit drugs (although it wouldn't be the first time that dystopian sci-fi ideas became reality).

In any case, the intended usage (as an aid to those who are voluntarily trying to break an addiction) is worth pursuing.

coca tea? (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896816)

Hmm, would this drug attack strictly the dangerous refined cocaine or non-dangers like relaxing coca tea, quite popular in Peru and other Souther American countries, brewed from the leaves of the plant that can be refined to cocaine.

And what about coca-cola...if users become allergic to it then I guess we finally would know the secret recipe. ;-)

Question (1)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896834)

Are they giving Coke addicts free Cocaine while they perfect their formulas?

Junkies, get it while you can!

And a week later... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896872)

And in the not-too-distant future, a week after the governments of the world force vaccinate everyone against cocaine (so the terrorists don't "win"), some scientist will discover a way to use cocaine to cure cancer...

Think ill of me if you will, but you know governments think like this and Murphy's Law loves irony... Oh how we are penny wise, and pound foolish.

Need a new drug (1)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896898)

Hate to sound like Huey Lewis, but why don't they focus on developing a drug that gives you the high you want with none of the bad side effects/consequences?

Re:Need a new drug (1)

boot1973 (809692) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897018)

well it's hip to be square...


Re:Need a new drug (2, Insightful)

HandsOnFire (1059486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897038)

Ever see Brain Candy by kids in the hall? In the movie, a happy pill gets invented and becomes the newest craze. No side effects, and it works by making you relive your happiest experience. Eventually, people get addicted and become happy, brain-dead zombies. Why bother to do anything if you're always happy?

Alcohol Vaccine! (0)

Albert Sandberg (315235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896908)

Yeah, that's what we need. Alcohol kills and hurts way more people. I'm not saying people should do crack, but I'm saying there are others too.

A nicotine 'vaccine'? Hells yeah! (1)

Looce (1062620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896914)

Something like this is really going to help those who want to stop smoking cigarettes... for good.

Here's a tip to the pharmacology companies, however: Us geeks won't like it if you invent a caffeine vaccine, because we will have lost our main source of energy!

Same tech might be used by terrorists (1, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896936)

Imagine a terrorist group that developed a "vaccine" that made some other drugs useless and found a way to deliver the "vaccine" worldwide, say, using a modified virus.

If it disabled "comfort" drugs like pain medications, it would be annoying and economically costly. If it deactivated drugs essential for life, such as drugs to treat high blood pressure or treat fatal illnesses, the consequences could be far worse.

I don't expect this any time soon but it could happen this century.

Better not make one for caffeine! (1)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896942)

If they make one for caffeine, the whole of the open source movement is down the tubes!

Re:Better not make one for caffeine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21897210)

I imagine a long-time coffee drinker re-discovering what coffee really tastes like without the addiction.

Not that sure about it. (3, Insightful)

teslar (706653) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896944)

Here we have a vaccine which prevents you from getting high on cocaine. My first thought was "Interesting". My second was "Who would actually want it?" If I'm not a coke user, I won't need it. If I am a coke user, I won't want it. So TFA says it's for people who try to give up:

"At some point, most users will give in to temptation and relapse, but those for whom the vaccine is effective won't get high and will lose interest."
Well, fair enough, but I'm not sure it will do them any good.

From what I understand about drug addiction and attempts to kick the habit, you won't just "lose interest", you'll be going through living hell for quite a while - your body is looking for something you're not giving it, it's going to be pretty mad at you. This is why people relapse - they remember the shiny happy times, ignore that bad bits about those times and it all looks so much better than what they're in at the moment, so they go back to their drug.

If you use this vaccine, then that becomes impossible, you burn that bridge. But that doesn't remove the desire to be back on drugs, it just removes your favourite one from the list of possibilities. There's still plenty of others around and I think it's pretty safe to say that people who were going to relapse anyway will do so with or without the vaccine - the only thing that will change is the drug they'll use. So that'll be a statistic to look for: What percentage of people trying to give up Cocaine on this vaccine will end up on another drug? Compare this to a control group of people not on vaccine ending up going back to cocaine.

I honestly can't see any positive use for this (3, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896954)

I'm deadly serious.

Used as an involuntary jab to fight the idiotic 'war on drugs' it is a clear violation of civil and cognitive liberty (I'm using that phrase more and more these days, not something I'm happy about). Used as part of a rehab programme, it kills the drug use without addressing the underlying weakness of character that created the addict. They are likely to fuck themselves up in some other way.

There isn't always, and shouldn't always be, a quick fix.

The nicotine vaccine is the hard one (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896964)

The anti-smoking vaccine, NicVax [] , is in phase 2B clinical testing, and appears to work. Sort of: "High antibody responders (top 30%) continued to show statistically significant abstinence at nine months: 9-Month continuous abstinence rate: NicVAX=20% (12/61, p=0.0076) vs. Placebo=6% (6/100)" That's not impressive, yet it's better than most anti-smoking programs.

Nicotine addiction is the toughest one to break. Programs for getting people off cocaine are about 40% successful. Programs for getting people off smoking are about 10-20% successful. Also, addicts tend to "age out" of cocaine and heroin addiction; after age 40, most of them eventually give it up. Not nicotine; people smoke their way to the grave.

One problem with a vaccine approach is that encourage overdoses, to overcome the antibodies. For nicotine, this is less of a problem, because smoking has a limited intake rate. But for cocaine, it's a real issue.

It's encouraging, though, that no side effects of this vaccine have been detected so far vs. the placebo.

The real promise for this vaccine is as a preventative measure. The average age for a new smoker is 13. [] Only 10% start after age 18. So if this works, a school inoculation program might be the way to prevent smoking.

Re:The nicotine vaccine is the hard one (2, Interesting)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897080)

Can you overdose, if the cocaine molecules are bound by anti-bodies? I know in Cocaine, overdose is usually lethal due to massive cardiac arrest. Obviously the anti-body bound Cocaine molecules will not affect the brain, but will it still prove to be dangerous to the heart? And as I've said before, I can see this being used in a clinical setting, to help ensure that once released, a treated addict won't go back to their old habit. I'm sure it's not a panacea (few things are), but I'm sure it'll deffinately improve the chances of an addict breaking their addiction.

Re:The nicotine vaccine is the hard one (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897116)

I hate smoking as much as anybody but an in school vaccination program for behavior modification?
Just seems wrong to me. Maybe if my kid starts and wants to stop and is having problems but as a preventative measure?
I would have to say no to that.

Re:The nicotine vaccine is the hard one (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897234)

I agree, such vaccinations should only be considered in a voluntary sense.

Re:The nicotine vaccine is the hard one (1)

mingot (665080) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897166)

Hrm, it wouldn't stop the kids from smoking at the onset, but if it let them smoke for a few years to be 'cool' and end with them NOT being addicted it could be a good thing.

Chantix Works Fine (i have firsthand experience!) (4, Informative)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897196)

There's no need for this. Not when a whole *class* of new drugs are coming out around nicotine anyway.

Chantix got me off of ten years of smoking in two months, experientially, not just for while i was on it, but apparently *reversed* the entire psychological and physical process from those years.

Every other time i tried to quit i'd have to avoid bars and lounges so i didn't come in contact with ANY smoke at all. After chantix therapy, I don't have to avoid anything, *i just don't want to smoke*.

I'll leave it to you (i'm already aware) of exactly why chantix has such a powerful effect. Given, i would never never never.. ...never never never take a "vaccine" that has a life long effect for anything other then a pathogen or bent protein. For a basic neurotransmitter mimic? youve GOT to be kidding me, scares the shit out of me. End of story

Undercover Cops (1)

loadtheclip (1211730) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896974)

Perhaps this may be of help for undercover police officers who must demonstrate their "willingness" to smoke/snort the stuff in order to keep his cover. Good stuff!

This seems useless to me. (1)

Puls4r (724907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896980)

What exactly is making people immune to certain drugs going to accomplish? New drugs are being created for this purpose (to get high) on a regular basis. Immunizing against one will simply lead to a rise in another, and the drug companies will always be 5 steps behind.

This vaccine seems like a way for the drug companies to increase profits - imagine what will happen if it's proven safe and then mandated by the U.S. or State governments. Guess who ends up paying for these wonder-drugs that are going to be ineffective? So our tax dollars will be used to pay for more and more vaccines while more and more are developed to comment new drugs that come out, ad infinitum.

So... (1)

quickpick (1021471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21896998)

Do you shoot it, snort it, or take it as a suppository?

Insurance... (1)

DCBoland (700327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897008)

I wonder how long it'd be before we start seeing insurance companies offering discounts to people who've had such vaccines (especially the Nicotine one). Already in the UK there's lots of talk of refusing NHS treatment to smokers/overweight people, its easy to imagine the NHS refusing treatment to anybody who hasn't taken these vaccines...

What's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21897058)

If they start working on a a vaccine for alcohol I may have to preemptively murder them.

What we need... (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897132)

Is a wonder-drug that will give people some will power.

This is equivalent to having your stomach stapled because you can't/won't stop eating. Both seek to intervene medically to perform as task best performed as an expression of personal will.

I'm no neuropharmacologist but... (1)

Jonesy69 (904924) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897142)

I would be willing to bet that this does not work past the blood brain barrier. (ok, I RTFA, it does not)

In other words the "vaccine" attacks the active metabolites in the *bloodstream* preventing them from being digested further then binding to specific neurotransmitter sites.

This is not a vaccine at all. I do not recall who said it but "Neurons that fire together wire together", which is for the most part true. There is absolutely no way that a single "vaccine" can undo the years of networking that ones neurons have done to bestow an addictive personality. A vaccine would be something that trains the brain (as in SSRI, SNRI, or other antidepressant treatment) to promote neurogenesis to accomodate the increases in seretonin, norepheperine (sp?), dopamine, etc in the synapse.

This is a novel way to digest drugs, nothing else IMO.

Cholera?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21897150)

Isn't this pretty much the storyline to "I Am Legend"?!?!

Mithridatization? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897170)

It reminds me about mithridization ( - vaccinating against poisons (such as snake venom). It's effective, but it requires constant administration of vaccines to keep antibody levels high enough to neutralize several hundred milligrams of poison.

God I could go for a nicotine vaccine (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21897216)

I started smoking when I was old enough to know better, and quitting is absolutely brutal.
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