Cocaine abuse is a world-wide public health and social problem without a US Food and Drug Administration-approved medication. An ideal anticocaine medication would accelerate cocaine metabolism, producing biologically inactive metabolites by administration of an efficient cocaine-specific exogenous enzyme.
Researchers previous studies have led to the discovery of the desirable, highly efficient cocaine hydrolases (CocHs) that can efficiently detoxify and inactivate cocaine without affecting normal functions of the CNS.
Preclinical and clinical data have demonstrated that these CocHs are safe for use in humans and are effective for accelerating cocaine metabolism. However, the actual therapeutic use of a CocH in cocaine addiction treatment is limited by its short biological half-life (e.g., 8 h or shorter in rats).
Authors now demonstrate a novel CocH form, a catalytic antibody analog, which is a fragment crystallizable (Fc)-fused CocH dimer (CocH-Fc) constructed by using CocH to replace the Fab region of human IgG1.
The CocH-Fc not only has a high catalytic efficiency against cocaine but also, like an antibody, has a considerably longer biological half-life (e.g., ∼107 h in rats). A single dose of CocH-Fc was able to accelerate cocaine metabolism in rats even after 20 d and thus block cocaine-induced hyperactivity and toxicity for a long period.
Given the general observation that the biological half-life of a protein drug is significantly longer in humans than in rodents, the CocH-Fc reported in this study could allow dosing once every 2–4 wk, or longer, for treatment of cocaine addiction in humans.