A biotech company called Applied Molecular Evolution is working with a grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a drug made of a designer enzyme that blocks the effects of cocaine. The drug could also function as an antidote for overdoses. [...]
The researchers developed AME-359 by tweaking a protein to create an optimized version of an enzyme that's common and present in all humans. "It's a scavenger enzyme (that) goes around the body chewing up a bunch of stuff, but not particularly well," Bloch said. "We're engineering part of the human body to do something a lot better that it was originally meant to do." [...]
Cocaine addicts attempting to recover is not a big enough market for companies to justify pouring a huge amount of money into a drug that might help treat the problem, so the future of the AME-359 depends largely on whether the National Institutes of Health continue to fund the project. In the meantime, Applied Molecular Evolution has other drugs in its pipeline that address bigger moneymakers, such as cancer, arthritis and infection.
Designer Drug Snuffs Cocaine High
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