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Investigating iNKT Cell-Based Vaccinology to Treat Drug Addiction

24 months
Approved budget:
Dr Benjamin Compton
Health issue:
Addiction (alcohol/drugs/gambling/smoking)
Proposal type:
Explorer Grant
Lay summary
Drug addiction imposes an enormous burden on health, welfare and law enforcement both in New Zealand and worldwide. The social cost of drug-related harm in New Zealand is estimated at $1.8b annually. Strategies to overcoming drug addiction include psycho-social and behavioral management yet these interventions provide only limited improvements to long-term abstinence rates. A new yet complementary approach to treat drug addiction is immunopharmacotherapy: a therapy whereby the patient receives a vaccine to generate a robust, long-lasting antibody response which will sequester the drug in the periphery and prevent it from reaching the brain thus eliminating any reward from the behavior. This funding proposal will permit the development and assess the efficacy of an exciting new synthetic tri-component vaccine construct designed to aid drug addiction recovery and prevent long-term substance abuse. This novel vaccine is designed to invoke B cell activation via multiple immunological pathways eliciting the requisite humoral response.