not exactly the pepsi challenge

Designer Drug Snuffs Cocaine High

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.

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3 Responses:

  1. alanablue says:

    I have to say that this kind of stuff scares me. I can't help but think gov controls over anything fun...

    • jwz says:

      I think this is exactly the opposite: a drug which significantly reduced the potential fatality of cocaine would make cocaine safer, and presumably, more popular.

      Which --oops-- brings us full circle, and means this was probably funded by the CIA as renvenue generation.

      • alanablue says:

        I would assume that if cocaine was no longer effective/made you high, then the popularity would decrease esp. with the added disadvantage of addiction.
        Actually, the biotech firm responsible for this drug is working off a grant funded by the NIH, who normally want peeps off anything fun that the gov has deemed illegal.
        The irony would be if this new drug is addictive as well. It would just turn into the new methadone...substituting one addiction for another via gov controls.