A New Zealand scientist examines a new drug addiction vaccine that would teach our immune system to reject specific drugs before they could trigger heights.
Scientists have tried, without success, to create such an effort since the 1970s
Dr. Benjamin Compton believed that the errors were not due to the concept itself, but to the design of the actual vaccines.
Chemistry researchers at Victoria University ̵
The New Zealand Drug Foundation reports that 45,000 New Zealanders receive support to reduce their alcohol and drug abuse each year – and it is estimated to be only one third of those experiencing problems with their use.
The Ministry of Health places the cost of drug pains and interventions at 1.8 billion. dollars.
Worki ng with the immunologist Dr Lisa Connor, Compton plans to pioneer a vaccine platform capable of generating an immune response to small drug-like compounds.
If successful, the vaccine will avoid being dependent on using protein to activate the immune system.
The ultimate goal is to be able to instruct the immune system to recognize a particular drug when it enters the bloodstream and treat it as a toxin. This means that antibodies will bind to the targeted drug in the periphery and prevent it from crossing the blood brain barrier where it would normally interact with receptors and cause a high.
"Achieving this would express a new paradigm in immunotherapy," said Compton, who has just received a $ 150,000 grant from the Health Research Council for work.
"And more importantly, we aim to design a vaccine that can be massively manufactured at low cost."
Vaccines were one of the most cost-effective and powerful health interventions by Compton said, and he believed it should be possible to vaccinate against drug abuse.
"Ultimately, what we are trying to do is generate a robust B cell response – an antibody response – to specific drug targets."  Traditionally, this was done by first generating a response from T cells – the white cells that defend us from infection and disease – which in turn improved the B cell response.
But because of man's complexity body that generates the desired T cell response could be difficult.
Cellular treatment and presentation of proteins varied from person to person, which could have been partly responsible for past mistakes in developing vaccines for drug abuse.
Compton expects that his new vaccine will improve the T cell response or, even better, directly activate B cells independently of a T cell response.
But even though his vaccine can activate B cells directly, it cannot be enough in itself – and to make this type of vaccine effective it is to ensure that it also drives a memory response to the drug.
"We are trying to understand the simplest way to activate B cells so that we can rely on a memory response to compounds that would otherwise not be recognized by the immune system."
Compton originally wanted to test his vaccine in mice. And if he could prove the concept worked, it could be revolutionary.
"This technology will be really useful for those addicts who want to break free from their addiction. Should that person get in touch with the drug, a vaccine will ensure that there is no reward from the drug-abusive behavior." 19659002] Director General of Health, Professor Kath McPherson, said research was a major problem for individual and public health.
"Drug abuse is a serious problem throughout the world, not only causing injuries, death and quality of life, but also cost our healthcare system enormously in hospitalization and emergency, treatment and counseling," she said.
"A vaccine may well be the way for the future. If Dr. Compton can provide a proof of the concept, it could be a groundbreaking step towards developing a vaccine in the future."
Unity to reveal cancer early
Meanwhile, another of the Council's 15 Explorer Grants has gone to a top cancer cancer researcher hoping to pioneer an implanted device that can routinely detect early stage cancer.
Professor Parry Guilford, a cancer genetics and biologist expert at the University of Otago, has proposed a "native unit" that has the potential to transform cancer survival.
The device would be inserted into the body and left there for a period so that it could pick up a new generation of narrative cancer "biomarkers" called circulating tumor D NA or ctDNA.
These markers can not only reveal traces of cancer with incredible specificity, but can also pick up most cancers. However, the susceptibility to early stage disease is modest due to the small number of ctDNA molecules that can be purified from a standard 8 ml blood flow.
"It works well for late stage disease, but lacks the sensitivity to finding cancer at an early stage when it is possible to cure by surgery," Guilford explains.
"We propose to develop a resident unit that will capture more than 36 times more ctDNA over a 30-minute period, allowing this technology to routinely detect early stage cancer.
" We Believe it will allow the majority of tumors to be diagnosed while still small enough to be cured by surgery. "