One Step Closer To Vaccine Against Heroin Addiction

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Syringe and Vaccine” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0Candy Hwang, Ph.D.

The Scripps Research Institute
La Jolla, CA 92037

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our heroin vaccine is designed to stimulate antibodies to recognize and bind heroin, preventing passage of drug molecules to the brain. By essentially blocking the “high” from heroin, we believe this will assist recovering addicts from relapsing. Last year, we reported a heroin vaccine that was shown to be effective in both mouse and non-human primate models. In this current study, we were interested in enhancing our heroin vaccine by exploring different vaccine components and dosages.

Once we discovered the most promising vaccine formulations, we wanted to see if our vaccines would be stable under different storage conditions. We found that our heroin vaccine was shelf stable under different temperatures and as a powder or in liquid form, meaning that the vaccine will remain stable for transport and storage. The best vaccine formulation from these studies showed protection against lethal doses of heroin.

 MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: These new findings mean we’re one step closer to clinical evaluation. The vaccine will be ready for human testing in the near future. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

 Response: The next steps for our heroin vaccine is finding a producer and test batches of the vaccine from large scale production.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Combatting the opioid crisis will require scientists from diverse fields to make discoveries and find new therapies on multiple fronts. We hope our vaccine will help recovering addicts, while other scientists devise new opioids with less abuse potential.

Citations:

Mol Pharm. 2018 Feb 19. doi: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.7b00933. [Epub ahead of print]
Enhancing Efficacy and Stability of an Antiheroin Vaccine: Examination of Antinociception, Opioid Binding Profile, and Lethality.
Hwang CS1, Bremer PT1, Wenthur CJ1, Ho SO2, Chiang S2, Ellis B1, Zhou B1, Fujii G2, Janda KD1.

 

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