Heroin Vaccines

In the past few years, vaccines have increasingly become a possible treatment for heroin abuse or abuse of other opiates. The main component of this vaccine is the hapten-carrier conjugate. Creative Biolabs is committed to finding vaccines with higher stability in vivo and higher immunological efficacy.

Introduction of Heroin Vaccines

Heroin Vaccines – Creative Biolabs

Drug abuse and misuse continue to be at epidemic levels around the world. According to the 2017 World Drug Report, about 70% of global drug abuse is attributed to opioids, with heroin being a drug with one of the highest mortality rates. In the United States alone, the number of heroin deaths has soared over the past decade, with 6.2 times from 2002 to 2015. Among various psychoactive substances, heroin ranks the worst in terms of physical damage and strong dependence that it generates. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop alternative heroin abuse treatment methods. Recently, vaccines have been explored as potential treatments for substances of abuse because they do not produce undesirable neurological side effects, and they may be used as a prophylactic treatment for drug overdose or as a synergistic therapy for substance use disorders. Vaccines that prevent drug abuse work by producing antibodies that sequester the substance in the blood, thereby preventing it from crossing the blood-brain barrier, engaging its receptor in the brain, and inducing its subsequent psychoactive effects. The main component of this vaccine is the hapten-carrier conjugate. Usually, the substance of abuse is a small molecule and consequently does not evoke an immune response. Thus, an analog (hapten) that structurally mimics the substance is covalently linked to an immunogenic carrier to allow the substance to be presented to the immune cell.

The Challenge of Heroin Vaccine

Heroin is a chemically unstable compound with a half-life in serum of about 3-4 minutes, therefore, in order for the heroin vaccine to function effectively, its stability and half-life must be increased to increase the shelf life of the vaccine. In vivo, serum esterase hydrolyzes the C-3 ester to produce 6-acetylmorphine (6-AM), followed by hydrolysis of the C-6 ester to generates morphine. Morphine can then be further metabolized to morphine-6-beta-glucuronide (M-6G), which has neurological functions like morphine or morphine-3-beta-glucuronide (M-3G). To a lesser extent, morphine can also be metabolized to normorphine. Therefore, in order for the heroin vaccine to be effective, the induced antibodies must be able to bind heroin, 6-AM and morphine.

Vaccine strategy for heroin. (A) Structure of heroin and its metabolites. (B) Dynamic heroin vaccine, which triggers the production of anti-heroin, anti-6-monoacetylmorphine and anti-morphine IgG. Structures highlighted in color represent the structure of the opioid within the dynamic hapten. (Hwang and Janda. 2018)

Fig 2 Vaccine strategy for heroin. (A) Structure of heroin and its metabolites. (B) Dynamic heroin vaccine, which triggers the production of anti-heroin, anti-6-monoacetylmorphine and anti-morphine IgG. Structures highlighted in color represent the structure of the opioid within the dynamic hapten. (Hwang and Janda. 2018)

Our Strategies to Develop Heroin Vaccine

  • Induction of antibodies—Immunization with a hapten coupled to a tetanus toxoid mixed with a liposome containing MPLA induces a high titer antibody against the hapten.
  • Specificity of antibodies—Competitive ELISA is used to assess the ability of the anti-hapten antibodies to bind to heroin, 6-acetylmorphine and morphine.
  • Comparison with other haptens—Coupling of heroin or morphine to protein carriers has been primarily done at positions C3 or C6 or at the bridge nitrogen atom.

Our vaccines can produce high titer-specific antibodies which are designed to reduce heroin abuse and reduce the effects of its major metabolites, 6-acteylmorphine and morphine. Creative Biolabs is a leader in the field of vaccine development and has focused on the vaccines technology for years. We have experienced experts and advanced platforms that are able to provide excellent services. If you are interested in our services, please contact us for more details.

References

  1. Torres O B, et al. (2018). A rapid solution-based method for determining the affinity of heroin hapten-induced antibodies to heroin, its metabolites, and other opioids. Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry, 410(9566):1-19.
  2. Li F, Cheng K, et al. (2014). Synthesis and immunological effects of heroin vaccines. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 12(37):7211-32.
  3. Hwang C S and Janda K D. (2018). A Vision for Vaccines: Combating the Opioid Epidemic. Biochemistry, 56(42):5625-5627.

Our services are for research use only. We do not provide services directly to individuals.


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