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Scripps Research Institute Scientists Develop Antidote for Cocaine Overdose
Date:4/18/2012

rate to about 28 percent, the new GNCgzk antibodies reduced the mortality rate further, to 20 percent.

More strikingly, a stripped-down version of GNCgzk—F(ab')2-gzk, which contains only the antibody's cocaine-binding segments—reduced the mortality to zero, as well as significantly reducing overdose signs such as seizures. It also did so at a much smaller, clinically feasible dose than GNC92H2's. "There was a reversal of the signs of cocaine toxicity within seconds of the injection," said Treweek.

Janda and Treweek are now trying to find ways to produce their F(ab')2-gzk antidote economically and in large quantities. "If we can do that, then there would be no reason not to push it into clinical trials," Janda said.

He notes that such a treatment could be useful not only in reducing the immediate effects of an overdose, but also in preventing near-term relapses. "A lot of people that overdose end up going back to the drug rather quickly," Janda said, "but this antibody would stay in their circulation for a few weeks at least, and during that time the drug wouldn't have an effect on them." Likewise, this antibody could be administered to patients in addiction recovery or detox programs as a prophylactic treatment to supplement other medications, such as antidepressants, and counseling.  An acute relapse during this recovery period would be immediately nullified by the antibody dose that is already in circulation.

The research in the paper "An Antidote for Acute Cocaine Toxicity" was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health and Scripps Research's Skaggs Institute of Chemical Biology. For more information on the paper, see http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/mp200588v

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