Bacteria that can fight cocaine addiction identified

Bacteria that can fight cocaine addiction identified
London: In a finding that could help addicts
get rid of cocaine, American scientists have identified a
bacteria which can reduce addictiveness and prevent deaths due
to drug-overdose.

Scientists at Scripps Research Institute in California,
using a mouse-model, found that the naturally-occurring
bacterial enzyme Cocaine esterase -- CocE -- breaks down
cocaine which reduces its addictive properties.

The bacteria was active in the body for a short-while but
a more stable version double mutant bacterial version known as
DM-CocE was more effective, lead author Friedbert Weiss writes
in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
"These therapeutic approaches may therefore not be
`fail-safe` for reducing cocaine intake by determined users
but long-acting forms of CocE represent potentially valuable
treatment approaches not only for the prevention of
cocaine-induced toxicity but also for ongoing cocaine abuse in
humans," Weiss said.

As part of the trials, rats were trained to
self-administer cocaine by pressing a button in their cage,
mimicking the need for regular doses of the drug during
Rats treated with the double mutant form of CocE pressed
the button to receive cocaine less often, suggesting that
DM-CocE broke down the drug and dampened addiction, Telegraph