Most attention to drug overdose is affixed to opioids right now. but the research community also remains attuned to interventions targeting cocaine. Researchers attending this week's annual meeting of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists in Orlando, Fla., have presented evidence regarding a novel enzyme that they believe could serve as a cocaine overdose treatment intervention in emergency settings.
Chang-Guo Zhan, PhD, and Fang Zheng, PhD, have previously designed and tested the enzyme CocH1, which breaks down cocaine without producing harmful byproducts. They are now evaluating the novel enzyme E12-7fc-M3, testing its activity against cocaine in laboratory rodents. They reported at the conference that the enzyme showed an improved efficiency against cocaine with a significantly longer half-life than what has been demonstrated with a pharmaceutical formulation of CocH1.
One dose of 2.5 mg/kg of the novel enzyme was found to eliminate 25 mg/kg of cocaine in the laboratory animals for at least 7 days, the University of Kentucky researchers reported.
“The next stage of our research is promising, showing that the enzyme has extended function in small animal models and potentially even longer in humans,” Zhan said in an Oct. 29 news release. “We envision that this therapy could eventually become a viable treatment option in emergency rooms for people who overdose on cocaine.”