Development of Novel Immunotherapeutics for Opioid Addiction
The Research Need
High rates of relapse and overdose deaths pose significant challenges in the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD). Anti-opioid immunotherapies (i.e., vaccines and monoclonal antibodies) have great potential to reduce long-term opioid use and overdose, with minimal risk of side effects, when used in conjunction with pharmacological treatments and/or behavioral therapies. Immunotherapies that render an opioid less effective, or less rewarding, and thereby protect from accidental overdose could provide an important adjunct therapy for patients undergoing treatment for opioid misuse and addiction. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines or monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of substance use disorders.
About the Program
The objective of the program is to support the pre-clinical development and clinical testing of innovative and safe anti-opioid immunotherapeutics (i.e., vaccines and monoclonal antibodies) for use in the treatment of OUD and overdose.
To date, through the NIH HEAL Initiative, NIH has made 12 grant and contract awards to support projects using novel immunotherapeutic approaches to treat opioid use disorder and overdose. These awards total over $28 million. The institutions with these awards will undertake pre-clinical research and clinical trials to determine the safety and efficacy of these new treatments.
- Boston Children’s Hospital – Massachusetts
- Butler University – Rhode Island
- Duke University – North Carolina
- Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute – Minnesota
- Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine – Maryland
- Scripps Research Institute – Florida
- Tulane University – Louisiana
- University of Chicago – Illinois
- University of Montana – Montana
- University of New Mexico Health Science Center – New Mexico
- University of Texas Medical Branch – Texas