Can a vaccine for cigarette smokers help someone quit the habit? Will a vaccine for metamphetamine help a user give up the drug?
The National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) wants to know the answers to these questions and is willing to pay researchers to find out. Two scientists, Dr. Kosten from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and Dr. Burkhard from the University of Conneticutt will each receive $500,000 a year for five years from NIDA to seek out answers on the efficacy of “addiction vaccines”.
The underlying premise to this research is similar to the rationale behind regular vaccines: substance abuse vaccines would stimulate a person’s immune system, causing antibodies to be produced that would in effect, suspend and reject the drug before it reaches target receptors in the brain. The result is that the person using the drug would not experience any highs from taking it and would lose the incentive, and therefore the addiction, to the substance.
NIDA hopes that by funding research into this field, addictions across the United States can be reduced, and in addition, that substance abuse vaccines will prevent young people from becoming addicted in the first place.
To read the article, “Vaccines for Addiction Gaining Momentum” published online on Medscape, go to www.medscape.com.