Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Vaccine for drug addiction could offer hope to users

From bad news to good...

CHICAGO (AFP) - In a search for what could be the ultimate cure for drug addiction, scientists have developed a vaccine which prevents the body from getting high.

The hope is that it can stop people from falling back into a spiral of addiction if they have a relapse.

The most promising results so far have been with cocaine, but researchers hope it could also one day be used to cure addiction to methamphetamine, heroin and even cigarettes.

"The vaccine slowly decreases the amount of cocaine that reaches the brain," said Thomas Kosten, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who has been working on the vaccine since 1995.

"It's a slow process, and patients do not go through any significant withdrawal symptoms."
The vaccine works by getting the body's immune system to recognize the drug as foreign and attack it in the blood stream.

It does so by injecting an altered version of the drug into the body which has been attached to a protein that the body will recognize as a threat.

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