SUNY Upstate Medical University to test 'heroin vaccine'

SUNY Upstate has been awarded a grant to study a "heroin vaccine" (Courtesy: MGN).

SUNY Upstate Medical University has been awarded a grant to research an experimental heroin vaccine.

According to a release from U.S. Military HIV Research Program, in preclinical studies, the vaccine induced antibodies that prevented heroin from crossing the blood- brain barrier in mice and rats for a period of up to three months. By binding heroin in the blood and thus reducing its passage into the brain, the vaccine aims to block the euphoria and addictive effects of heroin and other commonly misused opioids.

"Our goal is to develop a safe and effective vaccine that could be used as an additional therapy for people with heroin use disorder. By blocking the effects of heroin in the brain, we hope to give people a window so they can overcome their addiction," said Dr. Gary Matyas, , Chief of Adjuvants and Formulations for MHRP said.

The heroin vaccine was co-developed by researchers at MHRP and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Researchers at SUNY Upstate and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research have been given a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the tool they say could help fight the opioid crisis.

The first phase of clinical testing is expected to begin late fall of 2020.

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