Toxicology reserch finds method detecting early cocaine contamination in biofluids

New promising method to detect cocaine in biofluids

12:17 PM, 18th November 2013
Research in Toxicology
Cocaine may permanently damage proteins in the body.

WASHINGTON, US: A new study on cocaine, details how it may permanently damage proteins in the body. According to scientists, the information, gleaned from laboratory tests, could be used to potentially detect the drug in biofluids for weeks or months - instead of days - after use. The findings, which appear in the ACS journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, could also help explain cocaine’s long-term health effects.

Researcher Anthony P DeCaprio and colleagues explained that prescription and over-the-counter drugs intended for legal medical use undergo rigorous studies to determine how they work and how they might cause side effects. But there are very few similar studies on illicit drugs. Long-term use of the so-called rich man’s drug is linked to depression, breathing problems, kidney diseases and sudden death. Researchers already knew that cocaine abuse can alter proteins in the body, but the exact details of how it makes these changes were not known. DeCaprio’s team stepped in to investigate this mystery.

In laboratory tests, they discovered a brand-new way that cocaine breaks down and alters proteins. They speculate that these proteins could appear in users’ biofluids for weeks or months after the drug is first taken. This finding could dramatically expand the window for determining past cocaine use, which currently is only detectable for up to several days. Also, the new details on cocaine metabolism contribute to a more comprehensive picture of the drug’s toxic effects.

 

© American Chemical Society News

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