Researchers have developed a vaccine that could help drug addicts to both break and reverse their costly habit.
The U.S team produced a lasting anti-cocaine immunity in mice by giving them a jab that combined part of the common cold virus with a particle that mimics cocaine.
Study leader, Dr Ronald Crystal, of Weill Cornell Medical College, said: 'Our very dramatic data shows that we can protect mice against the effects of cocaine, and we think this approach could be very promising in fighting addiction in humans.'
He said the antibody immune response produced in lab mice by the vaccine binds to, cocaine molecules before the drug reached the brains of the animals - preventing any cocaine-related hyperactivity.
The scientist writing in the online edition of Molecular Therapy, said the vaccine effect lasted for at least 13 weeks, the longest time point evaluated.
Dr Crystal said: 'While other attempts at producing immunity against cocaine have been tried, this is the first that will likely not require multiple, expensive infusions, and that can move quickly into human trials.
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