Scientists have successfully tested the “dynamic” vaccine against heroin in rats that prevents the heroin and its metabolic products in the body from reaching the brain. This vaccine is ready to be tested in human beings.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Heroin addiction affects more than 10 million people globally and the development of such vaccine is really a part of success against such addition.
“The effects of the heroin vaccine are more dramatic than any we’ve ever seen and have been tested more rigorously in an animal model,” said George Koob, the study’s senior author.
Kim Janda, senior study author, said that the vaccine produces antibodies and these antibodies move in the bloodstream and deactivate the heroin and the related breakdown products.
“It’s like the old ’80s game Pac-Man,” Janda said. “They immediately seek out the target and sequester it.”
Although the vaccine worked well in rats but still the studies are needed on human beings and the researchers are looking for a drug company or a philanthropist for the funds for the clinical trials.
However, researchers said that after the success of heroin vaccine on human beings, it could become a part of therapy for heroin addiction.
“Our vaccine represents a promising adjunct therapy for heroin addiction, providing continuous heroin antagonism, requiring minimal medical monitoring and patient compliance,” Researchers wrote
Schlosburg, J., Vendruscolo, L., Bremer, P., Lockner, J., Wade, C., Nunes, A., Stowe, G., Edwards, S., Janda, K., & Koob, G. (2013). Dynamic vaccine blocks relapse to compulsive intake of heroin Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1219159110