By Richard Mann, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Researchers from the Federal University of Goiás (UFG) developed a particle capable of trapping cocaine present in the body and thus preventing the user from dying from an overdose.
The structure created has saved guinea pigs in every test conducted. The pharmaceutical industry is now seeking students interested in continuing tests to produce project-based drugs.
The project was developed by researcher Sarah Rodrigues Fernandes, under the guidance of Professor Eliana Martins Lima. The particle was made using nanotechnology, on a scale 1 million times smaller than the millimeter.
The drug enters the structure, made up of molecules, and prevents cocaine from acting on the body. The particle is then metabolized slowly in the liver.
“We’ve performed all the tests that we could in laboratories. A lethal dose in humans was applied to guinea pigs. Through this particle, we were able to rescue the guinea pigs from overdose in all cases. There was no death,” said Eliana Martins Lima.
She adds: “Within three minutes they were back to more controllable vital parameters. This proves the relevance and importance of the work. The number of overdose cases has increased 50 percent in the last ten years.”
As it has a rapid action on the body, this and other similar particles can be designed to help in emergencies in case of overdose, not only by illicit drugs but also in cases of suicide attempts with medication or by the accidental intake of drugs by children.
Researchers are now trying to attract the interest of other sectors to the work. “As of now, a number of regulations and registrations are required for new tests, including those on humans, which only the pharmaceutical industries can do,” she added.