Anti-Drug Vaccines

Anti-drug vaccines are being designed to help substance abusers overcome particular drug addiction

  • Most addictive drugs activate the pleasure-reward pathways of the brain (i.e. promote dopamine secretion)
  • A fragment of the addictive drug is made into a vaccine, such that the body produces specific antibodies to the drug
  • The antibodies do not destroy the drug, but form a complex with it that is too large to cross the blood-brain barrier
  • As a result, the drug cannot activate the pleasure-reward pathways of the brain, eliminating its addictive effects
  • This therapy is currently being developed for a number of drugs – including nicotine, cocaine and heroin

Anti-Drug Vaccine Development

 For more information, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)