- 13:05 17 March 2008
- NewScientist.com news service
- Justin Mullins
In recent years, crystal meth (methamphetamine) and ecstasy (MDMA) have become some of America's top problem drugs. Meth can cause severe problems in the cardiovascular and central nervous systems. Furthermore, because there is no way to remove the drug from the body, therapies tend to focus on treating its side-effects.
But antibodies that bind to methamphetamines and methamphetamine-like compounds to effectively remove them from the bloodstream could change that. Michael Owens, director of the Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse at the University of Arkansas, US, and colleagues claim to have developed a way to generate them.
The team have not yet tested the antibodies in humans, only in rats, but they say that a single injection can reduce the level of drug within the bloodstream for several days. By binding to drug molecules, the antibodies prevent them from reaching tissues like the heart and brain, and mark the compounds for clean up by the body.
Owens says that his team's antibodies bind to many drugs from the same chemical "family". Cocaine and nicotine are single, specific compounds but methamphetamines share a basic chemical skeleton with many other drugs. So-called "designer drugs" are made by modifying this skeleton to create specific effects. The team say their therapy works for meth, amphetamines and ecstasy.
Read the full ecstasy antibody patent application.
more info: http://www.wipo.int/patentscopedb/e...87602&IA=US2007071354&LANG=ENG&DISPLAY=STATUS