Treating cocaine addiction with viruses

M. Rocio A. Carrera, Gunnar F. Kaufmann, Jenny M. Mee, Michael M. Meijler, George F. Koob, Kim D. Janda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Cocaine addiction continues to be a major health and social problem in the United States and other countries. Currently used pharmacological agents for treating cocaine abuse have proved inadequate, leaving few treatment options. An alternative is to use protein-based therapeutics that can eliminate the load of cocaine, thereby attenuating its effects. This approach is especially attractive because the therapeutic agents exert no pharmacodynamic action of their own and therefore have little potential for side effects. The effectiveness of these agents, however, is limited by their inability to act directly within the CNS. Bacteriophage have the capacity to penetrate the CNS when administered intranasally. Here, a method is presented for engineering filamentous bacteriophage to display cocaine-binding proteins on its surface that sequester cocaine in the brain. These antibody-displaying constructs were examined by using a locomotor activity rodent model to assess the ability of the phage-displayed proteins to block the psychoactive effects of cocaine. Results presented demonstrate a strategy in the continuing efforts to find effective treatments for cocaine addiction and suggest the application of this protein-based treatment for other drug abuse syndromes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10416-10421
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number28
StatePublished - 13 Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


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