Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

A Vaccine for Heroin Addiction

Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Heroin addiction has proven especially hard to treat through vaccination because of the speed it metabolizes in the body.

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been working to develop vaccines for drug addiction since the early 1990s. Currently, TSRI vaccines for cocaine and nicotine addiction are in clinical trials, with one for methamphetamine nearing the research phase. 

A TSRI research team led by Professor Kim Janda and Professor George F. Koob, who chairs TSRI's Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders, has developed a vaccine that successfully prevents heroin from reaching the brain. In trials, the vaccine caused heroin-addicted rats with access to an unlimited supply of the drug to stop taking it. 

"Heroin-addicted rats deprived of the drug will normally resume using it compulsively if they regain access, but our vaccine stops this from happening," said Dr. Koob. If the vaccine proves as effective in human trials, it could help heroin addicts committed to recovery; heroin addiction is estimated to affect more than 10 million people worldwide. Because heroin is often injected, users who share syringes are not only at risk for fatalities from overdose, but also of contracting many other diseases including HIV and hepatitis C. 

The TSRI vaccines treat drug addiction by causing the immune system to treat the drug molecules as a pathogen, like a bacteria or virus, and to send out antibodies to bind to them and neutralize them before they enter the brain – where they cause the high that addicts crave. Common drug molecules are too small and simple to stimulate the immune system sufficiently on their own, but vaccine designers affix key fragments of the molecules to larger more immune-provoking carrier proteins. 

Designing an effective vaccine against heroin has been particularly challenging because the drug breaks down rapidly in the bloodstream into 6-acetylmorphine and morphine. The TSRI team had to develop a vaccine that not only triggered antibodies for heroin, but these other molecules as well. 

"The vaccine effectively tracks the drug as it is metabolized, keeping the active breakdown products out of the brain, and that, I think, explains its success," said Dr. Janda, who is TSRI's Ely R. Callaway, Jr. Chair in Chemistry, and whose laboratory initially developed the vaccine three years ago. 

After Dr. Janda's initial success, researchers in Dr. Koob's laboratory put the vaccine through more rigorous tests. In one test, severely addicted rats taking heroin compulsively in escalating amounts were forced to abstain from the drug for 30 days before their access was renewed. In rats that had received a dummy vaccine, compulsive heroine intake resumed and re-escalated. But in the vaccinated rats, intake failed to escalate and none of the rats resumed compulsively taking the drug.

"Basically we were able to stop them from going through that cycle of taking more and more heroin," said TSRI Research Associate Joel Schlosburg. "And that was with the vaccine alone; ideally for human patients, the vaccine would be given with other treatments." 

Users frequently relapse after conventional treatment for heroin addiction, and the vaccine may prevent renewed addiction in people who begin taking the drug again after beginning recovery. The vaccine would also likely make it impossible for an addict to overdose on the drug since the drug is neutralized before it can do any damage. The vaccine could be ready for human trials later this year.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New Antibody Weapons Against Marburg Virus
A study has identified new immune molecules that protect against deadly Marburg virus, a relative of Ebola virus.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Team Led by TSRI Scientists Shows AIDS Vaccine Candidate Successfully ‘Primes’ Immune System
New research shows that an experimental vaccine candidate can stimulate immune activity necessary to prevent HIV infection.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
New Details of Potential Alzheimer’s Treatment Uncovered
Scientists from Florida’s Scripps Resarch Institute have uncovered suprising new details of potential Alzheimer’s treatment.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Search for Cancer Drug Candidates
Scripps Florida scientists awarded $1.2 million to find drug candidates that could treat a wide range of cancers.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Scripps Florida Scientists Win $1.5 Million Grant to Develop New Cancer Drugs
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop drug candidates that could treat cancer and neurodegenerative disease.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Day-Night Cycles Linked to Mutations
TSRI scientists show that proteins critical in day-night cycles also protect cells from mutations.
Friday, March 13, 2015
More DNA & Extra Copies of Disease Gene in Alzheimer’s Brain Cells
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found diverse genomic changes in single neurons from the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, pointing to an unexpected factor that may underpin the most common form of the disease.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Possible Neuron Killing Mechanism Behind Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases Discovered
$1.4 million grant will enable team to follow up with search for drug candidates.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Microbes Prevent Malnutrition in Fruit Flies—and Maybe Humans, Too
Study shows that microbes play a critical role in nutritional disorders.
Friday, February 13, 2015
New Targets and Test to Develop Treatments for Memory Disorders
The study focuses on kinesin, a molecular motor protein that plays a role in the transport of other proteins throughout a cell.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
MS Drug Candidate Shows Promise for Ulcerative Colitis
Positive new clinical data were released today on a drug candidate for ulcerative colitis that was first discovered and synthesized at The Scripps Research Institute.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
New Technique has Profound Implications for Drug Development
The method, developed by Scripps Research Institute chemists, expands options for making pure batches of ‘one-handed’ molecules.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Scripps Research Institute Scientists Capture Picture of 'MicroRNA' in Action
The Findings Will Help Guide Drug Design.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Enzyme Could Help Explain Origins of Life
Mimicking natural evolution in a test tube, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have devised an enzyme with a unique property that might have been crucial to the origin of life on Earth.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Chemists Discover Cancer Drug Candidate Structure
Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute have determined the correct structure of a highly promising anticancer compound approved by the U.S. FDA for clinical trials in cancer patients.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Scientific News
Liquid Biopsies: Utilization of Circulating Biomarkers for Minimally Invasive Diagnostics Development
Market Trends in Biofluid-based Liquid Biopsies: Deploying Circulating Biomarkers in the Clinic. Enal Razvi, Ph.D., Managing Director, Select Biosciences, Inc.
Self-Assembling, Biomimetic Membranes May Aid Water Filtration
A synthetic membrane that self assembles and is easily produced may lead to better gas separation, water purification, drug delivery and DNA recognition, according to an international team of researchers.
Researchers Discover Immune System’s 'Trojan Horse'
Oxford University researchers have found that human cells use viruses as Trojan horses, transporting a messenger that encourages the immune system to fight the very virus that carries it.
Crystal Clear Images Uncover Secrets of Hormone Receptors
NIH researchers gain better understanding of how neuropeptide hormones trigger chemical reactions in cells.
How Cholesterol Leads to Clogged Arteries
A new study shows that when immune cells called neutrophils are exposed to cholesterol crystals, they release large extracellular web-like structures that trigger the production of inflammatory molecules linked to artherosclerosis.
Genetic Tug of War
Researchers have reported on a version of genetic parental control in mice that is more targeted, and subtle than canonical imprinting.
Ultrafast DNA Diagnostics
New technology developed by UC Berkeley bioengineers promises to make a workhorse lab tool cheaper, more portable and many times faster by accelerating the heating and cooling of genetic samples with the switch of a light.
Researchers Discover New Type of Mycovirus
Virus infects the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, which can cause the human disease aspergillosis.
Error Correction Mechanism in Cell Division
Cell biologists have reported an advance in understanding the workings of an error correction mechanism that helps cells detect and correct mistakes in cell division early enough to prevent chromosome mis-segregation and aneuploidy, that is, having too many or too few chromosomes.
How to Become a Follicular T Helper Cell
Uncovering the signals that govern the fate of T helper cells is a big step toward improved vaccine design.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!