Progress Made on Addiction Vaccine

Scientists report that they are inching closer to developing a vaccine that would effectively treat drug addiction. Although the research is several years away from putting a vaccine on the market, the studies are meeting with success. The research suggests that the vaccine is able to activate the immune system to block the effects of substances such as cocaine or nicotine.

The vaccine works by producing antibodies to a certain substance. When that substance is used, the antibodies bind to it as it enters a person’s system. In doing so, the vaccine stops most of the chemical from the drug from crossing into the brain. The substance is then metabolized by the liver and secreted from the body.

The two companies furthest along in the research are Nabi Biopharmaceuticals in Boca Raton, Fla., and Xenova Group PLC of Slough, England.

Nabi Biopharmaceuticals is working on a nicotine vaccine. The company has completed a trial involving 68 smokers to test safety and measure the levels of antibodies produced by the vaccine. The vaccine has also resulted in smoking cessation among a group of participants.

Xenova Group is working on a cocaine vaccine and reports that the vaccine has reduced relapse in a small group of cocaine users.

Source: Wall St. Journal October 2004
Filed under: Treatment and Addiction :

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