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Meth Vaccine Shows Promising Results in Early Tests
Date:11/1/2012

vaccines have been tested in animals, but generally with unpromising results. The methamphetamine molecule is structurally simple, making it relatively unnoticeable to the immune system. Meth and its main metabolite, ordinary amphetamine, also tend to linger once they get into the nervous system, so that even a little drug goes a long way. "The simple structure and long half-life of this drug make it a particularly difficult vaccine target," said Kim Janda, the Ely R. Callaway, Jr. Professor of Chemistry and member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at TSRI.

'Encouraging Results'

Two years ago Janda and his laboratory developed six candidate meth vaccines. In each, the main active ingredient was a chemical cognate of the methamphetamine molecule—that otherwise would be too small to evoke any antibody response—linked to a larger, antibody-provoking carrier molecule. Early tests in mice indicated that three of these vaccine candidates could evoke a strong antibody response to meth. Taffe's laboratory later tested these three vaccines in rats and found the one, designated MH6, that worked best at blocking two typical effects of meth—an increase in physical activity and a loss of the usual ability to regulate body temperature.

In the new study, members of Taffe's laboratory, including Research Associate Michelle L. Miller, who was lead author of the study, investigated the MH6 vaccine in more depth. Using a different experimental setup, they found again that it prevented a rise in body temperature and burst of wheel-running hyperactivity that otherwise occur after meth exposure. Underlying these promising effects on behavioral measures was a robust antibody response, which in vaccinated rats kept more of the drug in the bloodstream and out of the nervous system, compared to control rats. "These are encouraging results that we'd like to follow up with further animal tests, and, we hope, with clinical tests in humans some d
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SOURCE The Scripps Research Institute
Copyright©2012 PR Newswire.
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