Can a skin patch thwart cocaine overdoses?

skin graft cocaine addiction
Image credit: tlorna/Depositphotos

There are nicotine patches to help quit smoking, and then there’s this: patches of actual skin, genetically engineered to produce an enzyme that digests cocaine, and, when transplanted onto mice, arms them against otherwise-lethal doses of the drug. A study on the skin-patch strategy, which the authors hope could one day lead to a means of treating addiction and preventing overdoses in humans, appears [September 17] in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

Humans naturally make an enzyme, butyrylcholinesterase, that breaks down cocaine, but the research team wanted something more powerful for their skin grafts. So they used an enhanced form of the protein that another group had designed, which has 4,400 times the cocaine-hydrolyzing activity as the original. The University of Chicago researchers used CRISPR to insert a gene for the souped-up protein into skin epidermal stem cells from mice, seeded the cells onto circular, 1-centimeter-across patches of scaffolding, and then transplanted the tissue onto mice addicted to cocaine.

Related article:  Infographic: 3 factors affecting how viruses jump from animals to humans

[A] likely issue with translating the treatment to humans is that if patients “do not get high from cocaine, they probably will go take something else,” says Jianguo Cheng, a physician and pain management researcher at Cleveland Clinic who was not involved in the study. “For the science aspect it’s really impressive and encouraging.”

Read full, original post: Gene-Edited Skin Patch Prevents Cocaine Overdose in Mice

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend