New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

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New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

JesusTheMoose
The researchers of The Scripps Research Institute announced a vaccine that has the effect of blocking the high from heroin. The story below:   

By Mika Ono

Scientists Create Vaccine Against Heroin High
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 with 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 dependence—methadone, 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.

In addition to Janda, Koob, and Stowe, co-authors of the paper, "A Vaccine Strategy that Induces Protective Immunity Against Heroin," include Alexander V. Mayorov and Joseph S. Zakhari from the Janda laboratory at Scripps Research; Leandro F. Vendruscolo, Scott Edwards, Joel E. Schlosburg, and Kaushik K. Misra from the Koob laboratory at Scripps Research; and Gery Schulteis from the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of California, San Diego. For more information, see http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jm200461m .

The study was funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health and the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at Scripps Research.

The only object of liberty is life. -- G. K. Chesterton

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. -- Benjamin Franklin
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Re: New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

ArmChairIntellect
Good post, glad you posted one of these studies on the forum, perhaps I should add a couple more dealing with cocaine or meth if there is any interest.  This is the way of the future, the only logical way to truly prevent and perhaps treat addictions, however at what costs?  Remember these drugs promote addictions by inducing chemical reactions within the brain, it could be a slippery slope because how does one judge an animals cognition or higher functioning when they don't have cognition or higher functioning to begin with.  Not that I don't support this, because if it were to work the more damaging drug addictions may become a thing of the past.  But this very well could be a can of worms, however promising it is.    
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Re: New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

ArmChairIntellect
I should add we don't really understand many of the finer details of how many psychotropic drugs work anyhow, however we are getting closer year by year.
AJ
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Re: New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

AJ
In reply to this post by JesusTheMoose
i am all for non-profit biomedical science. if this kind of research is a stepping stone for more important discoveries, than i think that it's a great idea but if it's just to help heroin junkies stop using heroin than i think that its kinda a waste of time. why are we spending so much money on this drug epidemic when it seems that we are the cause of these problems?

we spend too much money on prisons, addiction pyschologists and psychiatrists, treatment centers, commercials, border security, drug and law enforcement, pharmaceuticals etc. now they create drugs to help you get off of other drugs. this is all a ridiculous business of cat and mouse. i am morally against the legalization of harder drugs but i also believe that prohibition is a waste of time and the only reason it exists today is for self-centered financial purposes.

why don't we spend more money on creating better cancer vaccines instead off wasting it on helping junkies?
CHIVIS FOREVER
AJ
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Re: New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

AJ
In reply to this post by JesusTheMoose
there is a "pussyfication" that now exists in our country where corporations have created a drug for almost every kind of mental or physical disorder a human being can have or create on himself. it's this nurturing attitude that has really (only) made people weaker.

you're a heroin addict? poor lil' thing. here, take this other drug to make you stop doing the drug that you can't stop using on your own. what ever happened to discipline? i am a former coke and speed and weed addict. i have never paid for a psychologist or a vaccine. i went cold turkey. then i put my money and time and invested it on martial arts and weight lifting to get my own ass off of drugs. right now, i'm a casual pot smoker but if a person really wants to stop, he will find a way to stop on his own (.) if it's someone who you care for than by all means help this person with encouragement. but if that person continues to abuse drugs and is only hurting himself and nobody else.....let him. it's a free country. if he wants to sit on his lazy ass all day long and shoot himself up, then that's his freedom.

CHIVIS FOREVER
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Re: New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

Chivis
Administrator
In reply to this post by JesusTheMoose
Thank you so much for this post Jesus!  I had not heard about it.

I have written about my only brother being a heroin addict.  Though he was clean for 11 mos when he was murdered he spent 9 years mainlaining.  He was a beautiful person, talented golden gloves, artist, and musician and he also had a severe learning disability.  He wanted so much to get clean, my mother and I helped him kick cold turkey multiple times.  I was only a teenager myself.  I saw so much.  But I am sure there were many people like my brother who wanted so badly to live without drugs, I wish there was this available  when he was alive. There will be a portion, perhaps majority of users that will not want a "cure" but there are many much like my bro and this will give them hope of a life without drugs.  I hope it turns out to be an option.

its a good thing IMO
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
AJ
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Re: New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

AJ
my apologies buela. thanks for reminding me about your brother. i remember when you told me his story. although i have'nt known too many heroin users in my life, i know that many of them are good people. the ones that i've known were decent people. they call them "tecatos". and their lives were not easy. they still had to work in order to support their habit. most of them would carry a bucket around and wash cars around the businesses. but normal and bright people who were stuck in a very tough situation of addiction. these people were not happy with their circumstances but they were neither willing to stop anytime unless forced. one guy i knew went to prison for three years and did'nt really use in prison because he could'nt afford it. the price of prison drugs is 10 to 20 times more expensive. then this guy got out and after a year, he started using again. that's the weird thing about heroin. even if you quit, you are still an addict.

but "junkie" is a bad word to use, especially to a person who has been affected by this.
CHIVIS FOREVER
TRC
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Re: New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

TRC
I started using when I was 15 and graduated to amphetamine then heroin. By the time I was 18 (1972), I got on the methadone program. It did little good as I just used heroin on top of it. I went to prison twice and both times I went right back into it. I got clean Dec 16, 1988, I am coming up on 23 years. After I got clean, with a10th grade education as I had dropped out of high school, I started college. I graduated with a bachelors degree working full time while I went to school. I went on to get a Masters Degree in Social Work and after that , part time I got a Masters in Business. I have worked in the Mental Health and Substance Abuse field for about 20 years. I don't disclose this very often anymore but this was a pretty good place to do that. Personally, I don't see heroin addicts lining up to voluntarily accept the vaccine because their love for their drug of choice is so great. It would be similar to cutting off your right arm or walking away from your mother never to speak to her again. With that said, I just cannot see a market for this. Sorry about you brother Buela, most all of my old partners are dead. If they aren't they are buried behind concrete and steel. We are who we are, I will always be an ex-con. But the state damn sure recognizes me and licenses me. Some of us do "recover."
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Re: New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

Chivis
Administrator
Wow thank you for sharing your story.  You are an exception, and in fact pretty damn amazing.:-)/\:-) high five
I agree that few addicts will want the vacine, but it is worth having as an option for those that do.
I know my bro would have taken it.  He was only 16 when he became an addict and did so in CYA
facility.  He was a good person and my best friend.  The murder trial was very difficult for my parents
and myself.  The entire scenario would be a good book.  I thought of writing it, but it was too painful.
 
His baby daugthter was only 3 mos old at the time of his murder, ironically she became first a FBI agent
then DEA agent, she contracted for 3 yrs in DF and extended 2 additional years.  She is not in MX
any longer she is assigned "somewhere" else.  I had no clue how bad Mx was when she applied  for DF
amazingly over 300 agents applied for the assignment. WHen i decided to go to NE Mx with my foundation
she was very concerned for my safety  jaja totally oblivious to her own being much more a factor.
 
  Interesting I had to send her stuff to Brownsville one does not send anything directly to the agents.
 
again....thanks for sharing your personal story
 

From: TRC [via Borderland Beat] <[hidden email]>
To: Buela Chivis <[hidden email]>
Sent: Thursday, November 3, 2011 11:33 PM
Subject: Re: New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

I started using when I was 15 and graduated to amphetamine then heroin. By the time I was 18 (1972), I got on the methadone program. It did little good as I just used heroin on top of it. I went to prison twice and both times I went right back into it. I got clean Dec 16, 1988, I am coming up on 23 years. After I got clean, with a10th grade education as I had dropped out of high school, I started college. I graduated with a bachelors degree working full time while I went to school. I went on to get a Masters Degree in Social Work and after that , part time I got a Masters in Business. I have worked in the Mental Health and Substance Abuse field for about 20 years. I don't disclose this very often anymore but this was a pretty good place to do that. Personally, I don't see heroin addicts lining up to voluntarily accept the vaccine because their love for their drug of choice is so great. It would be similar to cutting off your right arm or walking away from your mother never to speak to her again. With that said, I just cannot see a market for this. Sorry about you brother Buela, most all of my old partners are dead. If they aren't they are buried behind concrete and steel. We are who we are, I will always be an ex-con. But the state damn sure recognizes me and licenses me. Some of us do "recover."

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The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

Baclig48
In reply to this post by JesusTheMoose
Glad to find this info on new vaccine in treatment of heroin. For my heroin addict went to suboxone treatment virginia beach center. There was given effective treatment that made me overcome the addiction in short time. Really happy with their service.
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Re: New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

Siskiyou_Kid
In reply to this post by JesusTheMoose
No Love for Heroin Vaccine from Government or Big Pharm

https://www.discoveryplace.info/heroin-vaccine
Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
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Re: New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

JesusTheMoose
In reply to this post by Baclig48
Congratualations, bud! I'm glad you're beating the addiction!
The only object of liberty is life. -- G. K. Chesterton

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. -- Benjamin Franklin
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Re: New hope in the treatment of heroin addiction

Mexico-Watcher
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by TRC
TRC: Excellent post. Congratulations in keeping the Tecato gusano asleep for years! I know you understand what I mean.

I have know a number of people who quit using heroin on their own without benefit of treatment.  Each of them had been "clean" for 3 years or more at the time.  All had diverse backgrounds.  All were highly motivated to live clean lives and all of them understood (in their own unique ways) the craving and relapse triggers (stimuli) and had developed their own ways of recognizing and neutralizing them.  Also, there was a process of "extrication" from the drug world and a concurrent process of "accommodation" to the world of non-addicts.  There it is in simple bare bones terms.  

Because of my experiences with the above people, I think some treatment programs are a waste of money and a depressing factor for addicts and their loved ones who invested prayers, coin and tears only to see a loved one relapse to an ever lower level of Hell.  

IMO, heroin addiction in America is a complex "bio-psycho-socio-ecological" phenomena that requires treating these factors concurrently in order to identify and control craving and thereby avoid relapse.   Most conventional drug abuse treatment modalities tend to focus on the biological and psychological factors and virtually ignore (or give passing notice) of the importance of the socio-ecological factor to  the opiate/opioid craving and relapse problem.*  

Except for the affluent or insightful and highly motivated, most opiate/opioid addicts who are trying to quit using, are obliged to live in socio-ecological environments where they lived their drug using lifestyles.  These environments are literally loaded with powerful conditioned stimuli that trigger craving... And. also loaded with addict peers willing and able to welcome you back into the shooting galleries.

  Many addicts trying to go clean do not "really" and "completely" understand the craving leads to relapse phenomena.  Many do understand this in lay terms that do not convert to practical actions.  But, those that do understand more deeply (in their own personal terms --- not necessarily scientifically)  fare much better dealing with craving and in avoiding relapse.  For example, why could stopping to take a piss in a service station be dangerous for a junkie trying to stay clean?

Finally, it has taken me many hours of thinking, but I worry that the demand for deadly and powerful  psychoactive drugs like heroin worldwide is going to increase especially in place where people are miserable, unhappy, and hopeless.  Heroin and its relatives are the ideal "misery" medications ... and in a "realistic" assessment of where the world is going these drugs are perversely "needed" bygreat masses of people.  

Mexico-Watcher
* Craving and relapse are each big complex and intimately related topics.  Basically, if one (who is motivated to stay clean) learns to identify "dangerous" situations that could trigger opiate /opioid craving , he/she is will be able to kick-in idiosyncratic coping mechanisms to avoid relapse.

P.S.  I support Narcotics Anonymous because it is free, available "in" the socio-ecological environment   of the recovering addict ( race/ethnicity, culture, SES, language, etc.)... Also, because it understand the "craving and relapse" mechanisms in practical terms. And, mostly because of ex-addict peer support who "understand" and can help people through rough times.




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