Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Scientists Move One Step Closer to Heroin Vaccine

Could a vaccine that protects heroin users from the effects of that dangerous drug someday be in the treatment arsenals of psychiatrists and other addiction specialists? While such a weapon is a long way from being ready for prime time, researchers at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla, Calif., report in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry that in rat experiments a vaccine has proven effective in obstructing heroin's ability to dampen pain and in preventing the development of an addiction to heroin. The next task the Scripps group plans to undertake is to see if the vaccine prevents relapse in rats that had previously developed a heroin addiction, said lead researcher Kim Janda.

Progress is also being made in devising a vaccine that combats cocaine addiction, with promising findings coming out of experiments on mice. To read much more about development of a cocaine vaccine, see Psychiatric News at http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/46/5/20.2.full and http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/46/5/20.3.full

To learn about the latest advances in treating addictions, watch for the new book from American Psychiatric Publishing titled Cocaine and Methamphetamine Dependence: Advances in Treatment, scheduled to be published in September and available at www.appi.org.