Addiction research

Drug vaccine blocks rat relapse

    A vaccine stops heroin-addicted rats from seeking the drug.

    Earlier vaccines against heroin have faltered because the antibodies that they induce are easily overwhelmed by increased doses of the drug. Joel Schlosburg and his colleagues at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, have created a three-in-one vaccine: the antibodies it triggers target not only heroin, but also two of the drug's breakdown products. Active molecules are bound up by the antibodies before they can slip from the bloodstream into the brain. Vaccinated rats given heroin did not exhibit the compulsive drug-seeking behaviours seen in unvaccinated rats.

    Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA (2013)

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    Drug vaccine blocks rat relapse. Nature 497, 290 (2013).

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