Researchers report promising advances in the lab toward the development of a vaccine to treat methamphetamine addiction.
Although the abuse of “speed” or methamphetamines is under the radar screen for many, the costs associated with the addiction are astronomical exceeding $23 billion annually. Expenditures include medical and law enforcement outlays as well as lost productivity.
In the paper, Kim Janda, Ph.D., and colleagues note that “meth” or “crystal meth” can cause a variety of problems including cardiovascular damage and death. Meth is highly addictive, and users in conventional behavioral treatment programs often relapse.
Earlier forms of vaccines for methamphetamine addiction were ineffective or are very expensive. As a consequence, researchers made and tested new vaccine formulations that could potentially be effective for long periods, which would drive down costs and help prevent relapse.
The group found that three of the new formulations that produced a good immune response in mice (stand-ins for humans in the lab) were particularly promising.
“These findings represent a unique approach to the design of new vaccines against methamphetamine abuse,” the researchers said.
The report appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Source: American Chemical Society