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Addiction vaccine is closer to reality

July 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
From meth to cocaine to cigarettes, millions of people worldwide are addicts. After 25 years of research, Dr. Kim Janda is on the verge of creating a vaccine to release addicts from the grip of substance abuse.

Janda, a professor at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, said the vaccine would work by "blocking the drug before it gets to the pleasure centers in the brain."

"So what happens is that when the user takes the drug of abuse, the immune system recognizes it as being foreign, and alerts antibodies to attack the drug," Janda said.

Not only would they work to stop the feel-good effect the drug provides, but could also be used to stop the effects of an overdose after the drug has been taken.

Janda stresses the vaccines should only be given to people who want to stop abusing drugs. He is working on vaccines to block meth, heroin, cocaine and nicotine.

"These vaccines would be very useful for those weak moments," Janda said.