HOUSTON -- Two Baylor College of Medicine researchers in Houston are working on a cocaine vaccine they hope will become the first-ever to treat people hooked on the drug.
Dr. Tom Kosten is a psychiatry professor and is being assisted in the research by his wife, Therese Kosten, a psychologist and neuroscientist. It's been more than a decade in the making.
The vaccine stimulates the immune system to attack the real thing when it's taken.
Kosten has asked the Food and Drug Administration in December to green-light a multi-institutional trial to begin in the spring. A response is pending.
Approval would mark a breakthrough in the treatment of cocaine addiction, which now mostly involves psychiatric counseling and 12-step programs. It presumably would be the final clinical hurdle before the vaccine might be approved for treatment.
But one expert warns against expecting too much. Dr. David Gorelick of the National Institute on Drug Abuse says it's unlikely any treatment in this field will work for everyone. Still, if proven successful, Gorelick said the vaccine will give those working in drug addiction an important option.