posted on Jun, 2 2005 @ 01:24 AM
A research team has isolated the gene involved in heroin addiction and successfully blocked it using an adapted virus, effectively extinguishing the
need for the drug. Tests conducted on heroin-addicted rats have showed unerring success, and the next step will be to develop the treatment for safe
application on humans, predicted to be achieved within the next couple of years.
Previous research has indicated that a section of the midbrain called the nucleus accumbens plays a central role in the “mental reward circuitry”
of animals, such as rats and humans. This circuitry generates feelings of pleasure in response to drugs, as well as in response to other things,
including food, sex and, in humans, work accomplishments.
Drugs like heroin, however, seem to over-stimulate the normal reward process to the point where users value their next fix more highly than food,
water and other essentials. In 2004, a study revealed that coc aine causes a gene in the nucleus accumbens, called AGS3, to rapidly encode masses
of proteins that are involved in the cravings and pleasure associated with the drug.
An AGS3 blocker was then created from a herpes virus. This temporarily binds to proteins within the reward circuit and blocks the cravings-pleasure
cycle until the virus “washes out” of the body a few weeks later.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
I'm constantly amazed by the recent advances in the genetic sciences, and this one just adds to the pile. It's an exciting development in the fight
against drug abuse.
Curing chemical addiction is one thing, but will we ever be able to cure the psychological causes? We all have our addictions; it's human nature, and
there will always be some new drug around, but hopefully this development will help to battle the big "H".
Now if they could just develop the same for nicotine then I'd be set.