Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Biotech Medicine Science

Long-Lasting Enzyme Chews Up Cocaine 73

Posted by timothy
from the sadly-enzymes-have-no-gums dept.
MTorrice (2611475) writes "Despite cocaine's undeniable destructiveness, there are no antidotes for overdoses or medications to fight addiction that directly neutralize cocaine's powerful effects. A natural bacterial enzyme, cocaine esterase, could help by chopping up cocaine in the bloodstream. But the enzyme is unstable in the body, losing activity too quickly to be a viable treatment. Now, using computational design, researchers tweaked the enzyme (full paper, PDF) to simultaneously increase stability and catalytic efficiency. Mice injected with the engineered enzyme survive daily lethal doses of cocaine for an average of 94 hours."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Long-Lasting Enzyme Chews Up Cocaine

Comments Filter:
  • by Optimal Cynic (2886377) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @12:38PM (#47307167)
    Daily lethal doses? What a way to go...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Those mice love to party! They aren't white for nothing!

      • Those mice love to party! They aren't white for nothing!

        Please. A white mouse's idea of a party is a pint of Ben & Jerry's and a game of Jenga.

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @12:49PM (#47307271) Homepage

      They're a special breed of mouse, called the Charlie Sheen mouse. They inject them with tiger blood.

      'Cuz that's how they roll, banging 7 gram rocks. ;-)

      checks google, yes, banging rocks, that's what he said.

    • by rduke15 (721841)

      Yes, "daily lethal doses" is really weird. The problem with cocaine is not lethal doses (that's a problem with heroin). It's that the people addicted to cocaine end up completely crazy after a few years. The effect on the brain can be fun, but in the long run it is really destructive.

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "Daily lethal doses? What a way to go..."

      Lethal doses, long-lasting, cocaine eating, ... mmmhhh, I hope they call the enzyme keithrichardserase

  • Hmmm .... (Score:2, Funny)

    by gstoddart (321705)

    there are no antidotes for overdoses or medications to fight addiction that directly neutralize cocaine's powerful effects

    And, this will do nothing at all to fight additiction.

    You'll still be addicted, only the cocaine doesn't do anything. So you'll take more of it. Then you may die.

    Me, I think they should put it into the water on Capitol Hill and on Wall Street, and see how many people start going through withdrawal symptoms. The ones which start going squirrely for no good reason are probably the hypoc

    • Admit it, if you got a chance to do cocaine off of your secretary's cleavage you would do it as well.

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @12:53PM (#47307311) Homepage

        I don't have a secretary you insensitive clod. ;-)

        And, no, I have no interest whatsoever in trying cocaine.

        However, I will concede to the more generalized 'motorboating'. :-P

        • by easyTree (1042254)

          So, does this development mean that there'll soon be enzyme hookers?

        • by cusco (717999)

          My own observations leads me to think that the people with low self-esteem or low self-confidence seem to like cocaine a lot. People without those particular issues don't enjoy it much if at all. I tried it a couple of times and decided it was a real waste of money, but it's really popular in the worlds of arts and politics, two places where people with some real personality issues tend to congregate.

      • by iluvcapra (782887)

        What's a secretary?

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          It's an antiquated term which used to be occasionally synonymous with 'mistress'. ;-)

          Nowadays, they call them executive assistants.

        • Now we have expensive resources handle all kinds of mundane tasks and tasks they aren't suited for. Setting up a meeting that requires ordering food, handling the facilities and communicating with other groups? We now pay $100k/yr+ burden cost instead of someone at half the burdened cost.
    • Maybe put some in the Toronto water too...
    • by Shakrai (717556)

      And, this will do nothing at all to fight additiction.

      You can't beat an addiction if you die from an overdose. Survival is the first priority, then you try to get a handle on your life.

    • Re:Hmmm .... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iluvcapra (782887) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @01:08PM (#47307451)

      And, this will do nothing at all to fight addiction.

      Nope, but it will save lives from overdoses.

      There's a line of reasoning that's somewhat common, it goes: "We should never do anything altruistic ever, because it will create a moral hazard, and the mere potential of moral hazard is always worse than concrete good." Similar arguments are used against drugs that treat opiate overdoses [wikipedia.org], and relatedly, drugs used to fight alcoholism [wikipedia.org]. Some of this is bound up in the idea that addiction is a moral or character failing, or strictly a psychological disorder that can only be treated with therapy and "getting to the real problem," and anything else we do is simply palliative and forestalls treating the "real" problem.

      To your point, what needs to be done is a real epidemiological study, to see if people really end up taking more drugs, or if the trauma of OD'ing, being revived by the paramedics and spending a week in the ER with heroic interventions isn't sufficient to make some people hit bottom and scare them straight.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Oh, I'm not saying that in some contexts it couldn't be a tool, and I'm not saying something which helps prevent someone from dying of an overdose isn't a good thing ... but if some well meaning idiot (and there are many) just decided to give people this 'for their own good', it could have very adverse reactions.

        To your point, what needs to be done

        LOL, what needs to be done is for actual medical professionals to ignore any random crap I say and get on with their jobs.

        My point (although probably poorly expre

        • in fact it's not a narcotic at all, except as defined by the law.

          Narcotics are drugs that put you to sleep.

          Have you tried 'Trainwreck'? It's a narcotic, some of the time. Then again, I cleaned and organized the garage.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        There's a line of reasoning that's somewhat common, it goes: "We should never do anything altruistic ever, because it will create a moral hazard, and the mere potential of moral hazard is always worse than concrete good."

        More to the point, some people simply aren't happy if someone doesn't suffer, yet don't have the guts to straight-up admit that. So they infest religion and turn holy texts into torture porn, infest politics and either push for war or harsh sentences, infest media and produce grimdark bull

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          It has nothing to do with reasoning of any kind

          Ah, but (some) religion apparently absolves (some) people from the need for reasoning.

          An argument which boils down to "because god told me" is irrefutable by logic, because it's not founded in logic.

          And people are most wedded to the things which aren't based on actual reasoning, but are nonetheless Unassailable Truths because that's what they believe.

          Sadly, economics and politics are rife with examples of things which are 'known' to be true because people belie

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          More to the point, some people simply aren't happy if someone doesn't suffer, yet don't have the guts to straight-up admit that.

          I think you're still off by one step. They aren't happy with themselves, so they can only feel good if someone else is suffering more than they are. Since they don't feel good about themselves, they cannot be happy no matter what their situation might be, but they can make themselves seem less miserable [to themselves] by contrast, and since your perception of your attitude shapes your attitude, it really does make them feel better.

          These people aren't inherently bad people. They're damaged. Pity the trolls,

        • Like most complicated questions, it's not black and white.

          At one end of the scale you have something to save someone from OD. Obvious, yes fund and use it. Same as has been done for opiates. Not going to undo heart damage. Find another for tweak.

          In the middle, free rehab.

          At the other end of the scale. Enable the fuckers to live on the street and beg. Give them shelter. Let them use all their panhandlings for their poison of choice.

          The only complication is the nut mixed in with the junkies. Gotta ha

      • by ToddInSF (765534)
        You are seriously going to include anabuse in your argument ?

        There is nothing "altruistic" about Disulfiram.
    • by guises (2423402)

      You'll still be addicted, only the cocaine doesn't do anything. So you'll take more of it. Then you may die.

      Well, no. This isn't like a speedball where you have two drugs fighting each other - the enzyme removes the cocaine from your system. You're still addicted and the cocaine isn't doing anything, so you take more and it still doesn't do anything. If you take so much that you start to feel it, all that means is that you've exceeded the capacity of the enzyme to break it down and you now are responding as normal. It's still possible to overdose, I'm sure, but presumably more difficult.

      • They'll just pop a hand full of Xanex. There are so many chemicals to alter mood/perception I can't even imagine building enzymes to attack them all.

        Inside six months they will have an online formula for cocaine substitute. Like the heroin addicts figured out valium gives methadone the same stumble as heroin.

    • So you'll take more of it. Then you may die.

      From the sounds of it, you wont be able to afford enough of it to kill you. :-)

      I think this is a great thing. If you don't want to quit, nothing can help you.
      But there are a lot of people that need help during moments of weakness.
      I got put on a prescription once that was highly addictive, not as bad as street stuff, but still a pain.
      The doctor wanted me to go off of it, so did I, but it was still there if I needed it.
      You have to remember how hard it is to give up something like this. You only have to screw

    • Better off putting it in the bottled water and whiskey instead. Those wankers wouldn't lower themselves far enough to drink tap water.

  • A helluva drug.

  • If they love the powder they will refuse anything that limits the high or the frequency of getting high. I wish i could say that therapy is worth a hoot but so far what I see is cell therapy (the iron bar type) works better than a two thousand dollar a day rehab. Catch them the first time and lock them down until they are forty years old and some can be turned around. Twenty years in a cell can get one past the memories of getting high.
    • I wish i could say that therapy is worth a hoot but so far what I see is cell therapy (the iron bar type) works better than a two thousand dollar a day rehab.

      All qualitative arguments aside, and sticking to purely quantitative evidence: imprisoning drug users has resulted in no reduction in drug users over the last 30+ years. Drug use has risen, unabated by the threat of prison, from the very beginning of our misguided war on drugs.

      Punishing addiction is bad policy. There are far deeper psychological issues surrounding drug addiction that cannot be addressed by the penal code.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        There are far deeper psychological issues surrounding drug addiction that cannot be addressed by the penal code.

        And, it's not purely psychological issues. Some of it is social issues.

        If you're poor, starving, abused, and miserable ... well, one can see why you might turn to something to tune all that crap out.

        If the 'solution' is simply "Yarg! Throw 'em all in jail", you completely ignore the reasons why people do these things in the first place. Psychological, sociological, illogical, and all sorts of t

        • There are a number of socially acceptable ways of tuning out _for a while_. Drinking is legal. Pot is as good as, if not legal (you can see my garden on Google earth). Adrenaline is legally available, usually as expensive as cocaine. Psychedelics are readily available, freaks rarely cause problems, so cops ignore them.

          Conflating self destructive behavior with adults occasionally partying hard is half the problem. There are many people who are 'poor, starving, abused and miserable' because of what they do

      • by Megol (3135005)

        Punishing addiction is an efficient way to reduce crimes. Addicts are often criminals in order to pay for their drug use. Many drugs can enable more violent crimes with both short term and long term effects. Examples: short term effect = feeling numb, indifferent to inflicting pain on others, long term effect = permanent damage of brain functionality.

        Your platitudes aren't supported by facts.

        • by cusco (717999)

          The effect is only temporary, unless you're going to incarcerate them for life or execute all of them. They get out, they commit more crimes unless the cause is addressed first.

    • by rahvin112 (446269)

      Yes that's what we should definitely do, lock people up for doing something they like. Lets line up the smokers, alcoholics, gamblers and everyone else with a form of addiction and put them behind bars for 20 years. They'll sure solve societies problems.

      I can't say this politely, you are a fucktard.

      How about we let people do whatever they want as long as they aren't physically hurting anyone else.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The "Rick James... Bitch!"

  • But who will benefit, apart from the mule himself/herself?

  • ... just like we do!

    [/joke]
  • Mice injected with the engineered enzyme survive daily lethal doses of cocaine for an average of 94 hours.

    It's things like this that make me think that if there ever was an extinction event like a large asteroid collision or gamma ray burst, I wouldn't feel too bad about it. People create a highly addictive drug. People abuse the drug. People kill each other over purchasing, selling and law enforcement issues regarding the drug. Now people are torturing animals by forcing them to overdose on the drug, reviving them, and repeating the process until they die in order to find a way to combat the effects of an ove

  • by az1324 (458137)

    This should make it easier to convince people to swallow balloons...

  • The powers that be may want to get this classified as a controlled substance in short order. This enzyme could be used by dealers and users to "sober up" quick before the board meeting. Or dealers might just cut their product with the stuff in order to reduce the duration of the effects and thus increase demand for their product. Which in turn could further confuse addicts regarding their own tolerance levels and if they obtain coke from a different source, say on a business trip, they'd run the risk of
  • "Cocaine esterase? It's a helluva drug!"

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

Working...