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Posted by on Aug 15, 2012 in Science |

Find drug that blocks the addiction to heroin and morphine

Find drug that blocks the addiction to heroin and morphine

A major breakthrough to be published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience. An international team of scientists from the University of Adelaide and the University of Colorado has shown that addiction to Heroin and can be blocked at the same time increasing pain relief.

All thanks to the discovery of the key mechanism in the body’s immune system that amplifies the addiction to opiates. The researchers showed that the drug laboratory (+)-naloxone selectively blocks immune responses to addiction.

Results that could lead to new drugs that help patients with severe pain and those heroin users to quit.

According to Dr. Mark Hutchinson, one of the researchers:

Our studies have shown conclusively that addiction can be blocked through the brain’s immune system, regardless of brain connections. Both the central nervous system and the immune system play an important role in the development of addiction, but our studies have shown that it is only necessary to block the immune response in the brain to avoid the “cravings” for opiates.

To do this, scientists focused their efforts on the immune receptor known as TLR4. According to Hutchinson:

Opioid drugs like morphine and heroin bind to TLR4 in a manner similar to the normal immune response to bacteria. The problem then is that TLR4 acts as an amplifier for addiction.

The drug (+)-naloxone automatically shuts off the addiction. Disables the need to take opiates, cut the behaviors associated with addiction, and neurochemical changes in the brain. As a result, dopamine, the chemical that is important to provide that sense of “reward” of the drug no longer produces.

Linda Watkins, lead author, tells of a breakthrough that could change the way we understand the opioids, with TLR4 blocking the key to addiction:

The drug used, (+)-naloxone, a drug that was created in the 70′s. We believe this will be extremely useful as a drug co-formulated with morphine. This has the potential to lead to major advances in the palliative care patient.

From here, the advance of this milestone in medicine will go through a series of tests that allow early clinical trials to begin a planned within the next 18 months.

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