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Medicine Science

Alcoholism Vaccine Makes Alcohol Intolerable To Drinkers 350

Posted by Soulskill
from the spike-the-punch-with-it dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Ariel Schwartz reports that researchers are working on an alcoholism vaccine that makes alcohol intolerable to anyone who drinks it. The vaccine builds on what happens naturally in certain people — about 20% of the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean population — with an alcohol intolerance mutation. Normally, the liver breaks down alcohol into an enzyme that's transformed into the compound acetaldehyde (responsible for that nasty hangover feeling), which in turn is degraded into another enzyme. The acetaldehyde doesn't usually have time to build up before it's broken down. But people with the alcohol intolerance mutation lack the ability to produce that second enzyme; acetaldehyde accumulates, and they feel terrible. Dr. Juan Asenjo and his colleagues have come up with a way to stop the synthesis of that second enzyme via a vaccine, mimicking the mutation that sometimes happens naturally. 'People have this mutation all over the world. It's like how some people can't drink milk,' says Asenjo. Addressing the physiological part of alcohol addiction is just one piece of the battle. Addictive tendencies could very well manifest in other ways; instead of alcohol, perhaps former addicts will move on to cigarettes. Asenjo admits as much: 'Addiction is a psychological disease, a social disease. Obviously this is only the biological part of it.'"
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Alcoholism Vaccine Makes Alcohol Intolerable To Drinkers

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  • This is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:09PM (#42913839)

    Seriously? This is news?

    The EXACT SAME effect can be produced by feeding people shaggy mane mushrooms, (which are perfectly edible) due to the presence of a substance called Coprine.

    Coprine acts similarly to a well known medicinal substance called Disulfriram" [] that has been used to treat alcoholism via this mechanism for nearly 100 years!

    So, what you are telling me is that this doctor has essentially re-invented the wheel, and that this is news?

  • Re:This is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:11PM (#42913875) Journal
    But, the mushroom is not patentable. But this new "drug" will be patentable.
  • REverse this!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:11PM (#42913877) Homepage Journal about a GREAT $$$$ making endeavour!!

    Make another vaccine (or possibly something in pill form), that increases that second enzyme, and makes hangovers less and less painful!!

    I never knew what a hangover was till I was in my mid-30's...then BAM....

    Now, sure I can still drink quite a bit....not even getting very drunk at times, but man, I pay for it for 2+ days now at times.


    If this is what happened to me....I'd pay a TON of money to be able to regenerate that 2nd enzyme production to lower the acetaldehyde (sp?) and lower the hangover pain.

    Drinking is fun for those that can handle their booze....if you could get rid of the hangover, it would be great for those that still like to party a bit.

  • Vaccine? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:12PM (#42913893)

    I don't think they understand what a "vaccine" is. Can we (especially the media) stop throwing that word around for everything? A vaccine immunizes you against a disease, by getting the body to produce antibodies.

  • Won't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:27PM (#42914155)

    I know someone who has this alcohol intolerance. She still drinks, in spite of the rotten feeling afterwords.

    In some cases, alcoholism is about social and psychological dependence. Not the buzz from the chemistry. If people drink because they need it to fit in to a crowd, getting sick won't stop that.

  • by meerling (1487879) on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:29PM (#42914193)
    When I was in the military, there were some guys that came to work 3 or 4 times a week (almost every week) with hangovers.
    I'm not not talking about the "I'm a little queasy, give me an asprin" kind of hangovers, but rather the "shhhh, you're breathing too loud" kind of hangovers.

    Sure, there are some people who will stop, but there are too many that won't.
    Now if it caused illness fast enough they haven't even finished their beer, then it might have an effect. Of course, those drugs already exist and are in use.
    Also, it has been proven, they don't solve alcoholism, but they do help in it's treatment.
  • Re:Scary idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:34PM (#42914297) Journal

    Without vigilance, there might be a widespread problem with people getting these vaccines against their will.

  • Re:Doubtful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:51PM (#42914579)

    Does anyone really drink alcohol for the taste? Take the effect away and most drinks are a lot like drinking piss with a mediciney aftertaste.

    I'm with you, man. The worst kind of drink I can think of is a cask-aged Belgian monestary trippel served with an apple, a block of cheese, and a hunk of bread fresh out of some stupid oven. Yuck!

    Does anyone really listen to music for the sound? Take the dancing people and the lights away, and most music is just annoying noise.

    Does anyone really look at paintings for the visuals? Take the frame and the museum away, and most paintings are just blotches of pigment on canvas.

    Does anyone really read books for the stories? Take the paper and binding away, and most books are just a bunch of words in too small a font (which are getting smaller and smaller every year, by the way).

    Yeah, pretty much all of our senses and all of the "pleasurable" reactions that are brains fool us into thinking we're having are such a load of crap. Kind of makes you wonder: What's the point anyway? I mean, could this sunset even be any more orange? Pffft.

  • by Minwee (522556) <> on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:53PM (#42914633) Homepage
    A product called "Budweiser" has been making tiny amounts of alcohol intolerable to drinkers for years.
  • by Psyborgue (699890) on Friday February 15, 2013 @04:06PM (#42914815) Homepage Journal
    You must still be suffering? It's useless talking to you zombie fucks. Anybody who dares criticize the great organization is automatically a drunk. The 12 step program was judged a religion by the SCOTUS precisely because they found the distinction between "religion" and "spiritual" to be an obfuscation. You can believe whatever you want, and if you think you're not a member, being close to a member is close enough to soak up the BS as you so evidently show (if you're even telling the truth). Hell. In this day and age, watching TV / pop culture, stooped in dogma, is enough.
  • by zifferent (656342) on Friday February 15, 2013 @04:14PM (#42914947)
    Oh this would be infinitely better if it was a one-or-the-other situation. Knowing the system it will be, get this shot, & take these classes. & attend AA twice a week for a year, & go see a counselor twice a month, & visit a probation officer to pee in a cup all the while forcing the person to pay for it all twice what it is all worth. Weee!
  • by OzPeter (195038) on Friday February 15, 2013 @04:29PM (#42915173)

    but this blacking out drunk, acting obnoxious, and waking up with a hangover I just don't get.

    You do know that not everyone who drinks behaves like that, just like not everyone who eats becomes obese.

    Perhaps you need to get out of your mom's basement once in a while?

  • by tibit (1762298) on Friday February 15, 2013 @05:07PM (#42915819)

    The idea that people are powerless over their addiction is a load of looney-tunes. Demonstrably so. Either you stop drinking and you're not suffering anymore, or you don't, and you remain an alcoholic. Of course a separate problem is whether you're cured as in you can keep drinking occasionally like any other person, or should you abstain forever. That is a separate issue. There are many people who can't in fact drink at all, because the feedback loop in their brain is so strong that once they resume drinking, the slide into alcoholism. But if you're not an alcoholic, but previously were, then duh you have overcome your addiction. You, not his noodly appendage.

  • Re:Underestimating (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) on Friday February 15, 2013 @07:02PM (#42917227)

    You re underestimating what a desire to stop drinking is really like.

    I'm saying this as a sober alcoholic.

All this wheeling and dealing around, why, it isn't for money, it's for fun. Money's just the way we keep score. -- Henry Tyroon