Medical Patent in the Works for Cocaine Vaccination?

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       Dr. Tom Kosten, a professor of psychiatry at the Baylor College of Medicine, and his wife, neuroscientist and psychologist Dr. Therese Kosten are working on a medication to aid people in stopping cocaine addiction, according to a recent Newsweek article. The vaccine is designed to help the immune system identify cocaine when it’s in the system and to "bind to the cocaine and prevent it from reaching the brain."

 

       This is an innovative approach that marks the first time a medication might successfully be used to combat cocaine addiction. Since the addictive highs associated with cocaine occur when the drug reaches a person’s brain, "hijacking" the drug before it reaches that point is particularly advantageous. The drug is currently in clinical trials, and Kosten has requested a full "multi-institutional trial" by the Food and Drug Administration to start this spring (’08). Holding a patent for this type of medication will likely be lucrative; David Gorelick, senior investigator at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, calls "addiction vaccines" a "promising advance."

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