Friday, November 2, 2012
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute say they have conducted successful tests on a possible vaccine for methamphetamine, which could lead to a treatment for meth addiction.
Vaccines under development for addictive drugs prompt antibodies to attack drug molecules, but the methamphetamine molecule is structurally so simple that it is hard to recognize by the body's immune system, according to TSRI.
Researchers said their solution was to link a methamphetamine molecule to a "carrier'' molecule that would provoke an immune response. That led to a vaccine called MH6 that blocks two effects of the drug on the body, an increase in physical activity and an inability to regulate body temperature.
"I think that this vaccine has all the right features to allow it to move forward in development,'' said Kim Janda, the Ely R. Callaway Jr. professor of chemistry and member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at TSRI. "It certainly works better than the other active vaccines for meth that have been reported so far.''
The researchers said testing on laboratory rats remains in its early stages, and that more animal testing is required before human trials begin.
They also said the length of time the vaccine is effective in a patient needs to be increased.