Thursday, July 26, 2012

NIDA Backs Research on Vaccine Against Heroin, HIV

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has issued a $5 million grant to Gary Matyas, Ph.D., to support his research into a new vaccine that could treat heroin addiction as well as prevent HIV infection in those receiving the vaccine. Matyas, of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in Silver Spring, Md., is the 2012 recipient of the NIDA Avant-Garde Award for Medications Development and will receive $1 million a year for five years. "This is precisely the type of ground-breaking research NIDA's Avant-Garde program was designed to support," said NIDA Director Nora Volkow, M.D. "The implications for public health are enormous." 

NIDA and WRAIR began a research collaboration on development of the joint vaccine two years ago. At this point, the heroin component of the combination vaccine has been created and is ready for advanced preclinical testing. Matyas noted that "The possibility of creating a combination heroin-HIV vaccine provides an important opportunity to address both a unique treatment for heroin abuse as well as continuing the quest to develop an effective preventive HIV vaccine."

Heroin is not the only illicit drug that vaccine researchers are targeting. Progress has also been made in developing a vaccine against cocaine abuse. Read more about cocaine-vaccine research in Psychiatric News.

(image: smit/


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