Cure for cocaine addiction within reach, scientists say

It has been shown that radical gene therapy for drug addiction reduces the craving for cocaine and protects against overdoses of the substance that would normally be fatal.

The therapy uses stem cell implants that have been genetically engineered to release a powerful enzyme that removes the class A drug from the bloodstream.

Tests in the laboratory showed that mice with the implants lost their appetite for cocaine and survived huge overdoses of the drug that killed 100% of the untreated animals.

The work has generated hope for a long-term treatment of addiction that works by removing medicines from the body as soon as they are injected, inhaled or ingested. The therapy would effectively make addicts immune to the substances.