A group of Brazilian scientists says they have achieved it. It is a vaccine against cocaine and crack addiction. The drug has already been successfully tested on animals. In a next stage, the tests will be carried out on humans.
The name of this trial vaccine is Calixcoca. It is known that it has already given promising results in animal tests. How does it work? Triggers an immune response that prevents cocaine and crack reach the brain. What researchers hope is that it will help users break the cycle of addiction.
What is the next step if the drug gains regulatory approval? This would be the first time that cocaine addiction has been treated with a vaccine. This was stated by psychiatrist Federico García. He is the coordinator of the team that developed the drug at the Federal University of Minas Gerais.
Last week, the project won the top award—$530,000—at the EuroHealth Awards. This is dedicated to Innovation in Latin American Medicine. And they are sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Eurofarma.
The vaccine works by stimulating patients’ immune systems. It does this so that it produces antibodies that bind to cocaine molecules in the blood. It does this by making them too large to pass into the brain’s mesolimbic system, or “reward center.” This is where the drug normally stimulates high levels of dopamine, which causes pleasure.
The vaccine is currently in the final phase of trials, human testing. According to the researcher, Calixcoca A vaccine against cocaine addiction is a big step. It could be an important tool to help patients during critical stages of recovery. For example, when they leave rehab.
As for expectations around the vaccine, they are very high. More than 3,000 people have contacted García’s team to agree to participate in the clinical trial.