Why it will be so difficult to develop a vaccine to prevent opioid addiction

goodwin biotech to work on opioid addiction vaccines project
Credit: iStock/SBfoto
[P]atients taking opioids for chronic pain can produce antibodies to the drugs, which could help explain some of the side-effects of long-term opioid use; these antibodies may also hamper efforts to create opioid vaccines, which scientists hope could treat opioid use disorder better than existing medications.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Scripps Research Institute in California took blood samples from 19 volunteers who had been taking opioid painkillers for chronic lower back pain. They then screened these samples for antibodies to opioids… In 10 of these patients, they found opioid-specific antibodies.

[T]hese antibodies could be part of the reason why people who take opioids can develop symptoms such as hyperalgesia, where a person’s sensitivity to pain becomes so extreme that even normally harmless sensations became painful.

ADVERTISEMENT
Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

The authors also speculate that these native immune responses may decrease the effectiveness of potential vaccines for opioid use disorder. Some scientists, including the authors of the study, are hoping to create vaccines that can induce a temporary antibody response to the opioids we get from a prescription pill or illicit drug. The antibodies would cling to the molecules from these drugs when they enter the system, blocking them from getting into the brain and causing the effects associated with opioid abuse, such as an addictive euphoria.

Related article:  Challenging evolutionary psychology: Philosopher attacks the field's underlying scientific foundation

Read the original post

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Genetics Unzipped
Infographic: Deaths from COVID-19 are far higher than reported estimates

Infographic: Deaths from COVID-19 are far higher than reported estimates

More than 2.8 million people have lost their lives due to the pandemic, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis ...
seralinistud

Gilles-Éric Séralini: Activist professor and face of anti-GMO industry

The French biologist and his research team--funded by the Rodale ...
vandana shiva

Vandana Shiva: ‘Rock Star’ of GMO protest movement has anti-science history

In a 2012 interview, Bill Moyers referred to Vandana Shiva as ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend