The Scripps Research Institute - At The Forefront

July 2013

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A Vaccine for Heroin Addiction

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been working to develop vaccines for drug addiction since the early 1990s. Currently, TSRI vaccines for cocaine and nicotine addiction are in clinical trials, with one for methamphetamine nearing the research phase. However, heroin addiction has proven especially hard to treat through a vaccine, until now.

A research team led by TSRI Professors Kim Janda and George F. Koob has developed a vaccine that successfully prevents heroin from reaching the brain, thereby stopping the drug from causing a user to feel high.

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Professor George F. Koob, Chairman of the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders.

TSRI's research is breaking new ground in treating and curing conditions, from addiction to Alzheimer's, that affect millions of people around the world. Help keep our research moving foward.

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Professor James Paulson, chair of TSRI's Department of Cell and Molecular Biology.

milestones in medical science:
Stopping Harmful Immune Responses

The human immune system sometimes misdirects its attacks, leading to allergies, autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, and rejection of transplant organs and therapeutic drugs. Current immune suppressants are either prohibitively expensive and take years to work or compromise the entire immune system.

But a team from The Scripps Research Institute led by James Paulson, chair of TSRI's Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, has demonstrated a new technique to treat hemophilia that may lead to a better way to selectively repress unwanted immune reactions without affecting the immune system as a whole.

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Scripps Florida Professor Thomas Bannister

Other News:
New Treatment Shows Promise in Preventing PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is brought on by traumatic events, including serious injuries or exposure to violence, and causes an overall numbing to emotions, extreme anxiety, and unpredictable bouts of anger. While it often affects discharged military personnel, civilians experiencing traumatic life events may also experience PTSD.

The neural responses that drive PTSD have not previously been well understood. New research performed by Professor Thomas Bannister of Scripps Florida, in collaboration with researchers from Emory University and the University of Miami, has revealed that treating mice subjected to severe stress with a compound that targets a particular opiate receptor in their brains prevents PTSD-like symptoms, suggesting that this mechanism may be associated with PTSD in humans.

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Raffle Deadline: July 22nd

Best-selling author Tess Gerritsen is raffling off the rights to name two characters in her upcoming Rizzoli & Isles thriller. The raffle ends July 22nd, and all proceeds will fund TSRI's groundbreaking Alzheimer's research. Each $5 gift offers a chance to win, plus Tess Gerritsen has pledged to match all funds raised up to $25,000! Enter the raffle now.

facts & figures

In the U.S., deaths from drug overdose have increased for 11 consecutive years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Scripps Research Institute

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