Massive news! Researchers from the University of Chicago were able to negate the effects of cocaine through the application of gene-editing and skin grafts.
According to their paper, recently published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, the process builds on previous work involving a modified enzyme (BCHE), which is capable of naturally breaking down cocaine very rapidly. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last very long, and cannot be administered orally, making it not very pliable for a potential treatment.
But no matter, the researchers have routed around this by demonstrating that modified skin cells can secrete it into the bloodstream. These skin cells can be applied in the form of a skin graft, holding it in place over a long period of time. They believe their research could play a part in helping battle the effects of cocaine addiction in humans via a similar skin graft procedure.
“It will work, like in mice, by highly efficiently degrading cocaine as soon as it enters the blood circulation, so that little would reach the brain to produce consequences,” Wu told Digital Trends. “, drug naïve-subjects would not develop cocaine addiction, cocaine addicts would stop using cocaine, and there would be no cocaine-induced relapse in addicts.”
Simply put, cocaine addiction could be a thing of the past. On a larger scale perhaps drug addiction, period.
Which is good news for all. All except the producers of the gritty 1980s reboot of Stuart Little, where he turns from a not-so-humble Miami property appraiser to a not-so-humble bagman for the cartel. Would watch.