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Addiction to heroin, morphine can be blocked: Research

Published on Aug 15, 2012 2:00 PM

SYDNEY (AFP) - Addiction to morphine and heroin can be blocked, according to research released on Wednesday which could prove a major breakthrough in treating addicts and in pain relief treatments.

Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia worked with colleagues at the University of Colorado in the United States to pinpoint a key mechanism in the body's immune system that amplifies addiction to opioid drugs.

"Our studies have shown conclusively that we can block addiction via the immune system of the brain, without targeting the brain's wiring," said Dr Mark Hutchinson from Adelaide's School of Medical Sciences.

"Both the central nervous system and the immune system play important roles in creating addiction, but our studies have shown we only need to block the immune response in the brain to prevent cravings for opioid drugs."

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