Monday, May 13, 2013

Vaccines that Sound Like Science Fiction

I found an interesting article about vaccines to prevent certain reactions to "nicotine, cocaine, methamphetamine, and opiates". The idea is that post vaccine the drug molecules will be too large to pass the brain/blood barrier. You won't even need to block the receptors the way medications like Zyban or Chantix do with nicotine.

The research is at the animal phase and it's disturbing. According to the article they are burning the paws of rats to measure response times, tracking how long it takes the rats to take their paws off the heat source.

The researchers injected rats with heroin and placed them on a plate that was hot enough to cause mild pain, but not injury. Control rats took 30 seconds to lift their paws off the plate. Vaccinated rats evinced sufficient discomfort to do so after just 10 seconds, no different from the response of animals not treated with heroin.

Is it really fair to make rats addicted to heroin? Animal research is useful but hard to stomach.

The vaccine won't neccessarily keep people from becoming addicted, or cure them, but it will help them stay sober by blocking drug effects if they fall off the wagon.

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