Navigation Links
Scripps Research scientists create vaccine against heroin high
Date:7/20/2011

LA JOLLA, CA Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have developed a highly successful vaccine against a heroin high and have proven its therapeutic potential in animal models.

The new study, published recently online ahead of print by the American Chemical Society's Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, demonstrates how a novel vaccine produces antibodies (a kind of immune molecule) that stop not only heroin but also other psychoactive compounds metabolized from heroin from reaching the brain to produce euphoric effects.

"In my 25 years of making drug-of-abuse vaccines, I haven't seen such a strong immune response as I have with what we term a dynamic anti-heroin vaccine," said the study's principal investigator, Kim D. Janda, the Ely R. Callaway, Jr. Chair in Chemistry and a member of The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at Scripps Research. "It is just extremely effective. The hope is that such a protective vaccine will be an effective therapeutic option for those trying to break their addiction to heroin."

"We saw a very robust and specific response from this heroin vaccine," said George F. Koob, chair of the Scripps Research Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders and a co-author of the new study. "I think a humanized version could be of real help to those who need and want it."

A Worldwide Epidemic

While injection drug abuse is a debilitating worldwide epidemic, heroin abuse and addiction are especially destructive, with costs estimated at $22 billion in the United States due to loss of productivity, criminal activity, medical care, and social welfare, the authors say in their study.

Heroin abuse and addiction are also driving forces in the spread of HIV through needle sharing.

Using an approach termed "immunopharmacotherapy," Janda and his Scripps Research colleagues previously created vaccines that used immune molecules to blunt the effects of other abused drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and nicotine. Human clinical trials are under way for the cocaine and nicotine vaccines.

Attempts by other researchers over the past four decades to create a clinically viable heroin vaccine, however, have fallen short, in part due to the fact that heroin is an elusive target metabolized into multiple substances each producing psychoactive effects.

An Innovative Approach

To overcome this problem, in the new study the Scripps Research team used a "dynamic" approach, targeting not only heroin itself, but also the chemical it quickly degrades into, 6-acetylmorphine (6AM), and morphine.

"Heroin is lipophilic and is rapidly degraded to 6AM," said G. Neil Stowe, a research associate in Janda's laboratory who is first author of the new study. "Both readily cross the blood-brain barrier and gain access to the opioid receptors in the brain."

The researchers linked a heroin-like hapten (a small molecule that elicits an immune response) to a generic carrier protein called keyhole limpet hemocyanin or KLH, and mixed it with Alum, an adjuvant (vaccine additive), to create a vaccine "cocktail." This mixture slowly degraded in the body, exposing the immune system to different psychoactive metabolites of heroin such as 6AM and morphine.

"Critically, the vaccine produces antibodies to a constantly changing drug target," said Stowe. "Such an approach has never before been engaged with drug-of-abuse vaccines."

To compare the results of a non-dynamic approach, the team also prepared a vaccine simply targeting morphine, a substance related to heroin. Both vaccines were then injected into rats and the effects were examined in Koob's laboratory.

Promising Results

The results showed that the rats rapidly generated robust polyclonal antibodies in response to the dynamic heroin vaccine.

In addition, the study found that addicted rats were less likely to "self-administer" heroin by pressing on a lever after several booster shots of the vaccine. Only three of the seven rats that received the heroin vaccine self-administered heroin. In contrast, all of the control rats, including those given the morphine vaccine, self-administered the drug.

The effect of the heroin vaccine "was very dramatic; as dramatic as we have ever seen in experiments of this kind," said Koob. "To have an animal vaccinated and not show a response to heroin is pretty amazing."

The team also found that the heroin vaccine was highly specific, meaning that it only produced an antibody response to heroin and 6AM, and not to the other opioid-related drugs tested, such as oxycodone as well as drugs used for opioid dependencemethadone, naltrexone, and naloxone. "The importance of this," said Janda, "is that it indicates these vaccines could be used in combination with other heroin rehabilitation therapies."

The Scripps Research team has recently begun an exciting collaboration with researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research to see if it is feasible to develop a dual-purpose vaccine against HIV and for the treatment of heroin addiction in a single shot, Janda said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mika Ono
mikaono@scripps.edu
Scripps Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scripps Research scientists solve mystery of nerve disease genes
2. Scripps awarded $7.9 million NIH grant for research to find root cause of heart attack
3. Scripps study finds plastic in 9 percent of garbage patch fishes
4. Scripps Research Institute Scientist Knighted by Italian Republic
5. Scripps Research team sheds new light on how blood clots form
6. Scripps Research scientists awarded $2.2 million to develop treatment for multi-drug addiction
7. Scripps Research scientist wins $1.9 million grant to study malaria
8. Scripps Research scientists find way to block stress-related cell death
9. Scripps Research scientists find key mechanism in transition to alcohol dependence
10. Scripps Research scientists create new genetic model of premature aging diseases
11. Scripps Research scientists identify mechanism of long-term memory
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/16/2017)... SAN FRANCISCO , Feb. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... research, today announced that it has received Laboratory ... The CAP Accreditation is presented to laboratories that ... and who demonstrate scientifically rigorous processes. ... of excellence in laboratory practices. We,re honored to ...
(Date:2/10/2017)... Feb 10, 2017 Research and ... "Personalized Medicine - Scientific and Commercial Aspects" to ... ... Diagnosis is integrated with therapy for selection of treatment as ... detection and prevention of disease in modern medicine. Biochip/microarray technologies ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... NEW YORK , Feb. 7, 2017 Report ... ... and should reach $11.4 billion by 2021, growing at a ... Report Includes - An overview of the global markets for ... from 2015, estimates for 2016, and projections of compound annual ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... Proper glycosylation is critical for ... increase and/or decrease in antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity or complement-dependent cytotoxicity, there is a ... , To meet this demand, the team at SCIEX has developed a ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... Diego, Calif. (PRWEB) , ... March 21, 2017 ... ... on Kickstarter , more than tripling its goal and raising over $30,000 ... low-maintenance vertical garden that grows nutritious veggies & herbs fast, easy, and affordably, ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... ... peristaltic pump with patented ReNu single-use (SU) cartridge technology. Engineered by the ... feed pumps in SU tangential flow filtration (TFF), virus filtration (VF) and ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... ... The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) strongly opposes the proposed budget cuts ... 2018 budget request. , This proposal calls for a reduction in ... of its total budget. If applied proportionally across NIH, funding for the National Cancer ...
Breaking Biology Technology: