“This will not be a magic bullet. But the injectable antibody would help reduce cocaine cravings, making it less likely for a cocaine user to continue taking the drug,” said Andrew Norman, a professor in the department of pharmacology and cell biophysics at the UC College of Medicine. “It will help keep people that are motivated to stay off cocaine do so by making sure any relapse event does not lead to a sustained relapse event,” he added. When injected into the bloodstream, the antibody attaches to cocaine and prevents it from entering the brain.
The use of cocaine and its cheaper derivative, crack cocaine, is common throughout Ohio. Cocaine was highly available in the Cincinnati region, which included Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties. It is even sold nearby gas stations. The cocaine-specific antibody that Norman’s team has developed can help prevent cocaine’s effects for an extended period, about 30 days. “This is a major national need,” Norman said. The research was already paid by a $6.28 million, three-year grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.