A unique vaccine against heroin addiction has been tested at the Scripps Research Institute. The medication makes the immune system stop the processing of heroin to avoid drug intoxication.
The author of the study, Kim Janda, says that it is the first time he sees such a strong immune response during the whole period of developing vaccines against drugs. The scientists believe that the vaccine would be an effective therapeutic means for people who suffer from heroin addiction.
Previously, Janda and his colleagues had already been developing a vaccine against cocaine, methamphetamine and nicotine. All the medications are intended to make the immune system identify the drug molecules and block their metabolism. These vaccines are now undergoing clinical tests.
When creating a heroin vaccine, the scientists have faced some difficulties. Getting inside the body, heroin is rapidly decomposed into several other substances. The scientists had to teach the immune system to recognize not only heroin, but also its derivative substances, 6-acetylmorphine and morphine, which can easily penetrate into the brain.
The vaccine has successfully been tested on rats. After vaccination, the animals with a heroin addiction have demonstrated reduced craving for the drug and a lower degree of intoxication.
Source of the image: Photl.