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Can a new vaccine help meth addicts?


If a vaccine can prevent illness, why not the effects of a drug?

Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) are hoping this logic is true after testing a methamphetamine vaccine on animals--and seeing positive results. The animals in the study who received the vaccine and then received doses of methamphetamine did not appear to show symptoms of intoxication. In the same way that a vaccine for a virus or bacteria enables the body to develop antibodies against the foreign invader, a drug vaccine could enable the body to prevent drug molecules from reaching the brain.

Vaccine prevents hallmark symptoms of meth intoxication

Over the course of two years, scientists developed six meth vaccines, three of which showed a strong antibody response and one of which seemed to prevent two of the main symptoms associated with taking meth: increased physical activity/energy and the inability to regulate body temperature. The vaccinated animals in the study, when injected with meth, showed less of the drug in their nervous systems compared to the other animals.

"This is an early-stage study, but its results are comparable to those for other drug vaccines that have then gone to clinical trials," said Michael A. Taffe, an associate professor in TSRI's addiction science group.

Taking away the high

If a meth vaccine could work on humans, it would potentially have the ability to keep users from experiencing any positive physical or psychological high associated with use. According to Medical News Today, a meth vaccine would not only be a cost-effective option, but it would be a long-lasting treatment, as these types of vaccines can last for months. Kim Janda, the Ely R. Callaway, Jr. Professor of Chemistry and member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at TSRI, elaborates:

"I think that this vaccine has all the right features to allow it to move forward in development. It certainly works better than the other active vaccines for meth that have been reported so far."

More information about the study can be found in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Source: Medical News Today