FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Wed Sep 14 16:42:03 EDT 2011

New American Chemical Society Podcast: Toward a vaccine for methamphetamine abuse

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2011 — Scientists are reporting development of three promising formulations that could be used in a vaccine to treat methamphetamine addiction — one of the most serious drug abuse problems in the United States. That’s the topic of the latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) award-winning “Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions” podcast series.

Kim Janda, Ph.D., and colleagues note that methamphetamine use and addiction cost the U.S. more than $23 billion annually due to medical and law enforcement expenses, as well as lost productivity. The drug, also called “meth” or “crystal meth,” can cause a variety of problems including cardiovascular damage and death. Meth is highly addictive, and users in conventional behavioral treatment programs often relapse. Previously tested meth vaccines either are not effective or are very expensive. To overcome these challenges, the researchers made and tested new vaccine formulations that could potentially be effective for long periods, which would drive down costs and help prevent relapse.

The podcast is based on a study published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The group found that three of the new formulations that produced a good immune response in mice (stand-ins for humans in the lab) were particularly promising. These findings represent a unique approach to the design of new vaccines against methamphetamine abuse, says Janda.

The new podcast is available without charge at iTunes and from www.acs.org/globalchallenges.

Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions is a series of podcasts describing some of the 21st Century’s most daunting problems, and how cutting-edge research in chemistry matters in the quest for solutions. Global Challenges is the centerpiece in an alliance on sustainability between ACS and the Royal Society of Chemistry. Global Challenges is a sweeping panorama of global challenges that includes dilemmas such as providing a hungry, thirsty world with ample supplies of safe food and clean water; developing alternatives to petroleum to fuel society; preserving the environment and assuring a sustainable future for our children; and improving human health. During the 2011 global celebration of the International Year of Chemistry (IYC), Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions also is focusing on the main themes of IYC — health, environment, energy, and materials.

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