Cocaine addiction is a major problem for which there is currently no solution. This proposal is focused on developing an anti-cocaine vaccine designed to suppress the pharmacokinetics of cocaine after administration, sufficient to prevent cocaine from reaching its receptors in the brain. Our strategy is based on our almost 2 decades of experience with adenovirus (Ad) gene transfer vectors in experimental animals and humans, and the recognition that these vectors act as potent adjuvants that activate the immune system by infecting antigen presenting cells. We hypothesize that linking cocaine analogs to the proteins on the virion capsid (hexon, fiber, penton) will elicit high level, high affinity cocaine-specific antibodies sufficient to treat cocaine addiction. These capsid modifications will allow the vector to function similarly to a protein immunogen with the added benefit of exploiting the natural adjuvant effect of the Ad. The humoral adaptive immunity induced by Ad is directed against the capsid proteins, including 720 hexons and 96 combined penton bases and fibers, abundant targets for conjugating cocaine. The Ad-cocaine vaccine could be used as a single administration, or more likely, by readministration in a prime-boost fashion to boost the immunity against the drug epitopes. Based on the preliminary data demonstrating the feasibility of evoking high titer anti- cocaine antibodies in mice with human serotype 5 or non-human primate serotype C7 Ad with a cocaine analog coupled to the Ad capsid, we propose a focused, rapid-development, multi-component national program with the deliverable at the end of yr 2 to be an adenovirus-based cocaine vaccine ready to move into human clinical trials. To accomplish this, we have formulated the following specific aims:
Aim 1 - To develop a panel of Ad5- and AdC7-based anti-cocaine vaccines that elicit high titer, high affinity anti-cocaine antibodies and that will modify the pharmacokinetics of cocaine in murine models;
Aim 2 - Using rat models to assess the ability of the best candidate vaccines from aim 1 to evoke anti-cocaine antibodies, suppress the pharmacokinetics of cocaine following administration, and to prevent cocaine-induced behavioral phenotypes;
and Aim 3 - Choosing the best candidate vaccine with the optimal performance from aim 2, assess the ability of the vaccine to modify the pharmacokinetics of cocaine and prevent cocaine-related behavioral phenotypes in non-human primates addicted to cocaine.
In aims 2 and 3, studies with GMP-produced vaccines will permit parallel collection of toxicology data to support a future FDA Investigational New Drug application for initial clinical studies.

Public Health Relevance

This is an accelerated, focused pre-clinical program to develop a novel adenovirus (Ad)-based vaccine against cocaine addiction. An Ad-based anti-cocaine vaccine exploits the inherent immunogenicity of Ad to elicit high levels of cocaine neutralizing antibodies sufficient to eliminate cocaine from the circulation prior to reaching its receptors in the brain. We will chemically conjugate cocaine analogs to the surface of the Ad surface for display to the immune system, determine serum anti-cocaine antibody titers in immunized rodents and evaluate pharmacokinetics and behavioral phenotypes in rodent and non-human primate models of cocaine challenge. The deliverable is, at the end of the 2 yr grant, an adenovirus-based cocaine vaccine ready to move into human clinical trials

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
High Impact Research and Research Infrastructure Programs (RC2)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDA1-JXR-D (9F))
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Chiang, Nora
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Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
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Evans, Suzette M; Foltin, Richard W; Hicks, Martin J et al. (2016) Efficacy of an adenovirus-based anti-cocaine vaccine to reduce cocaine self-administration and reacqusition using a choice procedure in rhesus macaques. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 150-151:76-86
Hicks, Martin J; Kaminsky, Stephen M; De, Bishnu P et al. (2014) Fate of systemically administered cocaine in nonhuman primates treated with the dAd5GNE anticocaine vaccine. Hum Gene Ther Clin Dev 25:40-9
Rosenberg, Jonathan B; De, Bishnu P; Hicks, Martin J et al. (2013) Suppression of nicotine-induced pathophysiology by an adenovirus hexon-based antinicotine vaccine. Hum Gene Ther 24:595-603
De, Bishnu P; Pagovich, Odelya E; Hicks, Martin J et al. (2013) Disrupted adenovirus-based vaccines against small addictive molecules circumvent anti-adenovirus immunity. Hum Gene Ther 24:58-66
Maoz, Anat; Hicks, Martin J; Vallabhjosula, Shankar et al. (2013) Adenovirus capsid-based anti-cocaine vaccine prevents cocaine from binding to the nonhuman primate CNS dopamine transporter. Neuropsychopharmacology 38:2170-8
Rosenberg, Jonathan B; Hicks, Martin J; De, Bishnu P et al. (2012) AAVrh.10-mediated expression of an anti-cocaine antibody mediates persistent passive immunization that suppresses cocaine-induced behavior. Hum Gene Ther 23:451-9
Wee, Sunmee; Hicks, Martin J; De, Bishnu P et al. (2012) Novel cocaine vaccine linked to a disrupted adenovirus gene transfer vector blocks cocaine psychostimulant and reinforcing effects. Neuropsychopharmacology 37:1083-91
Hicks, Martin J; De, Bishnu P; Rosenberg, Jonathan B et al. (2011) Cocaine analog coupled to disrupted adenovirus: a vaccine strategy to evoke high-titer immunity against addictive drugs. Mol Ther 19:612-9
Koob, George; Hicks, Martin J; Wee, Sunmee et al. (2011) Anti-cocaine vaccine based on coupling a cocaine analog to a disrupted adenovirus. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets 10:899-904
Moreno, Amira Y; Janda, Kim D (2011) Current challenges for the creation of effective vaccines against drugs of abuse. Expert Rev Vaccines 10:1637-9