As heroin-related deaths soar in the United States, a group of researchers said they may be one step closer to developing a vaccine that could block the drug’s addictive high.
The vaccine is the first of its kind shown to be effective in monkeys, paving the way to human clinical trials, said the researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) who developed the treatment.
“The vaccine sequesters the psychoactive molecules that heroin produces and prevents distribution to the brain,” said Paul Bremer, a graduate student at TSRI. “It essentially uses your body’s own natural defenses to neutralize the drug.”
The trials showed the vaccine worked to suppress heroin’s effects in the monkeys, the study said. What’s more, two of the four monkeys who had received the vaccine for a more basic pilot study seven months earlier showed an increased resistance to heroin’s high with the subsequent doses of the vaccine.
[However,] a potential downside of the vaccine is that it would not help in suppressing people’s cravings for a high during withdrawal, and so users might be tempted to turn to other drugs….
[Read the full study here]
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