An antibody therapy could prolong the effect of medication designed to treat methamphetamine addiction, a study in mice suggests.
There is currently no medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration for methamphetamine addiction.
Scientists are developing promising treatments that trigger an immune system response, the Los Angeles Times reports.
If a daily anti-addiction medication is developed for meth, it will face a major challenge, according to the newspaper.
The urge to use meth can easily overwhelm the desire to quit, making it likely the person will discontinue the medication and continue using meth.
The new antibody therapy is designed to prolong the effect of anti-addiction medication. The therapy would deliver genes into a person's cells through a dismembered virus. The genes would instruct the cells to make a non-stop supply of anti-meth antibodies, the article notes.
If a person took meth weeks or even months after receiving the medication, the antibodies would bind to the meth and prevent it from reaching the brain, researchers explained at the recent annual meeting of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. As a result, the person wouldn't get high.
The researchers from the University of Arkansas described their experiment with the new therapy in meth-addicted mice. They studied two groups of mice: one group was vaccinated with the medication, and the second group received a saline shot.
Both groups of mice were given meth 50 days later. Half an hour and one hour after receiving the meth, the mice who received the antibody treatment had much more meth in their blood than the mice that received a saline shot. This suggests the meth was bound to the antibodies and did not cross the barrier into the brain, the researchers said.