Vaccination against heroin tested

Vaccine against heroin addiction, developed at the Research Institute of SCRIPPS (The Scripps Research Institute, TSRI), has been successfully tested on primates. This is the first anti-heroin vaccine, which was successful this stage preclinical studies.

“This confirms our previous data obtained during preclinical trials in rodents, and now we expect success in our next phase in clinical research,” said study leader Kim Janda (Kim Janda).
This is a promising study was recently published in the journal of the American chemical society (Journal of the American Chemical Society). Experiments on primates have been conducted by researchers from the University of Virginia.

The principle of the new vaccine stimulates production of immune system antibodies that recognise the drug molecules and neutralize them as usual the vaccine neutralizes the infection. Molecules of the drug are not received in the brain, the effects of heroin completely blocked, and drug euphoria does not occur. Scientists suggest that blocking the euphoria will help to eliminate cravings recovering addicts to relapse to drug use.

Laboratory of TSRI Professor Janda in working on his heroin vaccine for more than eight years. In 2013, scientists conducted preclinical testing of the vaccine on rodents, which also showed positive results. Then it was decided to begin testing the vaccine on monkeys-the rhesus monkey. Four primacy, which was consistently introduced the vaccine, and then the opioid showed an effective immune response against different size doses of heroin. This effect was most obvious in the first month after vaccination, and lasted for eight months. No side effects of the vaccine during the test was recorded.

“We believe that this vaccine will be safe for human trials,” said Professor Janda. He noted that components of the vaccine or have already been FDA approved or tested for safety in previous clinical trials.

Interestingly, two of the four experimental primates were previously vaccinated with the same version of the vaccine for seven months before the main experiment in this study. Scientists have discovered that these two Primate showed a much higher immune response to the vaccine in the second round of experiments. It showed that their cells producing antibodies contained immunological “memory” of the vaccine. If this effect is observed in humans, the recovering addict will have long-term immunity to heroin. “We were very pleased to see that the vaccine has such a lasting effect,” said study co — author, Professor Paul Bremer (Paul Bremer).

However, the new vaccine is effective only to heroin, other opioids it is not effective. Therefore, the vaccine will be effective only for those heroin addicts who really intend to get rid of dependencies, not using substitutes of heroin. In addition, the study authors emphasize that vaccination is not a standalone treatment, but can complement other therapies.

The next step will be clinical trials of new vaccines on people, then maybe the vaccine will be licensed, and then will go into mass production and sale.

On the use of vaccines in Russia we can talk again soon. The Russian approach to the treatment of heroin dependence is markedly different from the approach in other countries. So, in Russia, for relieving withdrawal symptoms using non-opioid drugs, and their effectiveness is significantly lower than methadone. The program of methadone substitution therapy conducted in 106 countries in all the Americas and Western Europe, in many countries of Eastern Europe and the Baltic States and even in most CIS countries (except Russia and Turkmenistan). The world health organization (who) and the UN officially supports substitution therapy and considers it one of the most effective treatments for opioid dependence. Mortality among persons with opioid dependence receiving methadone maintenance therapy is 25-33% of the same indicator among not covered by such a program. But, despite these data, in Russia is still in the course of repressive non-medical strategy to cure heroin addiction.

However, if all the main stages of addiction withdrawal withdrawal symptoms, that is withdrawal, and the subsequent overcoming the psychological dependence to be successfully overcome by using combination therapy, even without the use of substitution therapy, subsequent vaccination, however, can have a positive effect, not allowing the dependencies to return.