Antibody-catalyzed degradation of cocaine
Immunization with a phosphonate monoester transition-state analog of cocaine provided monoclonal antibodies capable of catalyzing the hydrolysis of the cocaine benzoyl ester group. An assay for the degradation of radiolabeled cocaine identified active enzymes. Benzoyl esterolysis yields ecgonine methyl ester and benzoic acid, fragments devoid of cocaine's stimulant activity. Passive immunization with such an artificial enzyme could provide a treatment for dependence by blunting reinforcement.