New Vaccine Promises to Cut Overdose Deaths
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute published results from their latest testing of a heroin vaccine, which proved to be effective in rodent models.
As reported by Scripps.edu, scientists at Scripps have achieved a major milestone toward designing a safe and effective vaccine to both treat heroin addiction and block lethal overdose of the drug.
Their research, published today in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, shows how a new anti-heroin formulation that is safe in animal models remains stable at room temperature for at least 30 days. As a result, the vaccine is close to being ready for human testing.
“The heroin vaccine is one step closer to clinical evaluation,” says Candy S. Hwang, PhD, first author of the study and a research associate at TSRI.
The vaccine works by training the immune system antibodies to recognize and bind to heroin molecules, blocking the drug from reaching the brain to cause a “high.” Researchers believe that blocking the high of heroin will help eliminate the motivation for many recovering addicts to relapse into drug use.
The heroin molecule does not naturally prompt an antibody response, so researchers attach it to a carrier protein that alerts the immune system to start making antibodies. Scientists also add an ingredient called an adjuvant to the vaccine, which boosts the immune response and makes the vaccine more effective.
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To read more about a potentially powerful heroin vaccine, please visit Scripps.edu.