Antibody Therapy Shows Promise in Blunting Addict's High
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A new study has shown that antibody therapy can blunt an addict’s high by preventing certain drugs, specifically methamphetamine, from reaching the brain.
The experiment, presented last week by molecular biologist Eric Peterson of the University of Arkansas, aimed to integrate antibody engineering and gene therapy technology to generate an antibody-based medicine that could continue working for months or years.
Researchers were able to show that the therapy continued to prevent methamphetamine from reaching the brains of mice over a month after receiving a dose of the drug. This approach has the potential to protect recovering addicts from relapsing if it can be proved to work safely in humans.
In the experiment funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, meth-addicted mice received antibody therapy. They were injected with an adeno-associated virus, which is engineered to deliver genes that produce antibodies that bind tightly to methamphetamine.
Fifty days after the mice were injected with the virus, they received a dose of methamphetamine. Up to an hour after administering the methamphetamine, the researchers observed a greater presence of the drug in the blood of the mice that received the gene-based therapy than the mice that received a saline shot instead.
According to the researchers, this suggests that the drug, bound to the antibodies, never passed into the brain and remained in the bloodstream until it was filtered out. Similar therapies have the potential to help with other addictions, like cocaine and tobacco, but have yet to be found safe and long-lasting enough to help an addict get clean.