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Thread: Heroin vaccine successful in rats: Study

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    Heroin vaccine successful in rats: Study 
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    New research points to an unlikely possible new weapon that could one day be added to the arsenal of the war on drugs: a heroin vaccine.

    Scientists at Scripps Research Institute have developed a vaccine that protects against a heroin high.

    "A vaccine capable of blocking heroin's effects could provide a long-lasting and sustainable adjunct to heroin addiction therapy," the authors write.

    To study the possibilities of such a vaccine, the researchers used what they called a dynamic approach to target heroin itself, but also the chemical it quickly degrades into, 6-acetylmorphine, and morphine. To target the multiple parts of the drug, they created a vaccine cocktail that would slowly degrade in the body and expose the immune system to different psychoactive metabolites of heroin.

    To test the therapeutic potential of the vaccine, they tested it on rats, and found that the animals quickly generated antibodies in response to the vaccine.

    Researchers also found that rats addicted to heroin were less likely to self-administer the drug by pressing on a lever after receiving several booster shots of the vaccine. By contrast, all of the control rats (who did not receive the vaccine) self-administered heroin.

    http://www.torontosun.com/2011/07/20...-in-rats-study
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    Bluelighter ResinTeeth's Avatar
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    This sounds like the cocaine vaccine which has been speculated about for a while now. I'd be interested to see what repercussions there are for using opioid painkillers for medical purposes (surgery/recovery etc.) after receiving this "heroin vaccine".
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    By 'protects against a heroin high' do they mean forces withdrawal? Because I fail to see how the immune system has anything, really, to do with CNS receptors. So if you take heroin you get an immune response of some, probably unpleasant*, sort, and if you don't take it you get withdrawal symptoms, surely? *How else does it deter the rats from pressing the lever?

    With coke, that might be fine, because the physical withdrawal symptoms aren't that bad (I think, can't be worse than meth...) but with heroin...

    (I don't think people should be vaccinated against any addiction though)
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    Quote Originally Posted by skillet View Post
    By 'protects against a heroin high' do they mean forces withdrawal? Because I fail to see how the immune system has anything, really, to do with CNS receptors. So if you take heroin you get an immune response of some, probably unpleasant*, sort, and if you don't take it you get withdrawal symptoms, surely? *How else does it deter the rats from pressing the lever?
    I don't think they're going for an inflammatory immune response. I think they're trying to prevent the high altogether.

    The body receives the vaccine. The vaccine coaxes the body into creating antibodies for heroin, acetylmorphine and morphine. The antibodies clear these substances from the bloodstream whenever heroin is administered.
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    Next, vaccines for cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, and GHB.
    Then we will all be safe
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    LOLVACCINE. Like it's a disease.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 235360287471352662 View Post
    I don't think they're going for an inflammatory immune response. I think they're trying to prevent the high altogether.

    The body receives the vaccine. The vaccine coaxes the body into creating antibodies for heroin, acetylmorphine and morphine. The antibodies clear these substances from the bloodstream whenever heroin is administered.
    Interesting, there's a lot of molecules in a dose of heroin, but I guess there are lots of bacteria and virii in most infections. I've no idea about the number of bacteria antibodies can deal with, but there's 1.6*10^19 molecules in 10mg of heroin.

    I guess you'd need a similar number of antibodies (assume 1 antibody can remove 100 drug molecules in a few minutes) to deal with them in a reasonable time, that's 0.27umol of heroin, atomic mass of an antibody is about 150kDa so that's like 40mg of antibodies. So I guess it could be possible, from that very rough math.

    It would still force withdrawal in anyone who was addicted though, but I can see how it could be useful for ex-addicts who don't want to fall back into it.
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    ^that's a good point. There are 25 to 50 billion white blood cells in the human body. I don't know how many of those are B-cells, but each B-cell contains 50 to 100,000 antibodies on its surface. So then it would be impossible to eliminate even a thousandth of a dose at once. Which may be a sign that higher doses would nullify a vaccine.

    Rats may have higher white counts.
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    Yeah, I guess the chances are you could still get a pretty good rush, and maybe a few minutes of being high. Do you have any idea of the mechanism by which the heroin (and derivatives) are actually removed from the blood, is it just absorbed into the B-cells? I really need to learn more about the immune system...
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    I'm sure if this is helpful to addicts wanting to stop, then it should be pursued. Nobody should be forced into it but if worked, I'm sure people would rather have this than an addiction. I know I certainly would if I had ever used heroin and developed a problem. I never have so I guess I can't make a more educated guess but from being on here I've learned that H addiction isn't exactly fun and games.
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    Hah, i dont see how this would ever get approved. There is too much money in being addicted....rehabs, methadone clinics, not to mention big pharma who makes all the drugs. They dont want cures, they want treatment. Vaccines are usually thought to be cures or at least preventitive measure to protect against something. This vaccine would just be shelved if it actually worked...why sell a curative vaccine once when you can make more money selling treatment for years and years.
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    #12
    Addicts will just switch to an opiate that this doesn't work with or try to shoot through it. Just a temporary money making band aid that won't do anything to actually help addicts in the long run.
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by 'medicine cabinet' View Post
    Hah, i dont see how this would ever get approved. There is too much money in being addicted....rehabs, methadone clinics, not to mention big pharma who makes all the drugs. They dont want cures, they want treatment. Vaccines are usually thought to be cures or at least preventitive measure to protect against something. This vaccine would just be shelved if it actually worked...why sell a curative vaccine once when you can make more money selling treatment for years and years.
    My thoughts exactly.

    "Abstract

    During the past fifty years, the number of pharmaceutical companies making vaccines has decreased dramatically, and those that still make vaccines have reduced resources to make new ones. Pharmaceutical companies are gradually abandoning vaccines because the research, development, testing, and manufacture of vaccines are expensive and because the market to sell vaccines is much smaller than the market for other drug products. Congressional action could assure both a steady supply of existing vaccines and the promise of vaccines for the future."
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/504779

    ...and that was from 2005, before the thought of a heroin "vaccine" ever crossed anyone's mind. I could see this thing being eventually used on an extremely small scale, and mostly for heroin addicts with very rich and very concerned parents. They will, of course, start using pharms that don't break down into morphine.
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    ^Bass, you're comparing apples to oranges. Vaccines to treat a pathogen are a tricky market because pathogens change in response to the vaccine; pharmaceutical companies have to keep reformulating and retesting their pathogen vaccines, and that is expensive as shit.

    On the other hand, heroin is the same today as it was a million years ago, and its structure won't adapt because of a vaccine. The poppy doesn't reproduce inside the blood of a human like bacteria and viruses do, so its mutations won't be tied to the selective pressures imposed by vaccines.

    The reason these vaccines usually fail are different (see the story I'm about to post about the travails of the cocaine vaccine).
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    This kind of stuff scares me. I don't like the idea of this kind of thing in anyones hands. And what about the repercussions of a vaccinated addict needing pain relief?
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by slimvictor View Post
    Next, vaccines for cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, and GHB.
    Then we will all be safe
    That is so scary, goddamn. -_-
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by skillet View Post
    Yeah, I guess the chances are you could still get a pretty good rush, and maybe a few minutes of being high. Do you have any idea of the mechanism by which the heroin (and derivatives) are actually removed from the blood, is it just absorbed into the B-cells? I really need to learn more about the immune system...
    Antibodies simply tag molecules for destruction by macrophages, neutrophils, etc. They can't actually kill anything on their own. So, presumably, after the heroin is tagged, it's unable to cross the BBB, and circulates until it's eaten up by a neutrophil. I wonder how that degredation would go though, since normally they have 'weapons' targeted against proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids.....
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