A fentanyl overdose may be reversed with the help of Narcan, but sometimes the drug is too powerful to respond. Now a company has gotten a green light for a project that explores the use of monoclonal antibodies in helping reverse a fentanyl overdose.
As a street drug, fentanyl can have different potency levels each time a user tries it. And often, the user doesn’t know where it is in the drug. Instead, they expected to get high on cocaine, meth, heroin, or Oxy. It can be 50-100 times as potent as morphine, so a person who doesn’t use opioids is highly susceptible to an overdose.
What Is a Monoclonal Antibody Treatment?
One of the most well-known applications of monoclonal antibody therapy is in treating certain cancers, such as breast cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia. During the COVID-19 pandemic, monoclonal antibodies have been developed as a therapeutic option to reduce the severity and duration of symptoms and prevent hospitalization in high-risk patients.
A monoclonal antibody treatment is a type of therapy that uses artificially created antibodies to target specific proteins or cells in the body. They are identical immune cells designed to recognize and bind to a particular antigen, a substance that triggers an immune response.
How Does This Fentanyl-Related Antibody Work?
The antibody the researchers are testing is a genetically engineered CSX-1004 from Cessation Therapeutics. The monoclonal antibody is designed to neutralize fentanyl molecules. This will stop them as they enter the bloodstream before they reach the brain, according to the company, which previously submitted a new drug application to the FDA.
Cessation Therapeutics says the antibody showed promise in blocking fentanyl’s potentially fatal effects on the respiratory systems. Trials were done with mice and non-human primates and were funded partly by the National Institutes of Health.
Researchers discovered that a single infusion of CSX-1004 created an effective blockade against the potentially toxic effects of fentanyl on the respiratory system of study participants. The treatment does not enter or bind to receptors in the brain, meaning there is little risk of addiction to the treatment itself.
Other Future Ways Fentanyl’s Damage Can Be Minimized
Not only is there an application for addiction medicine, but there are also medical applications for CSX-1004. Because the antibody blocks the respiratory effects of fentanyl only, patients could be protected from overdose and still have access to other medications that provide essential pain relief or anesthesia for surgery.
This could make major surgeries safer.
A monoclonal antibody that could block the effects of fentanyl would be a significant advancement in addressing the opioid crisis and preventing fentanyl-related overdoses and deaths. Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid often involved in drug overdoses. There is often difficulty in accurately dosing it outside of medical settings.
Fentanyl is used medically for pain management in certain situations, but its high potency can also lead to accidental overdoses. With an effective monoclonal antibody to counteract its effects, healthcare providers could use fentanyl more safely and with reduced patient risk.
If a monoclonal antibody could effectively neutralize or block the effects of fentanyl, it could offer several promises.
Overdoses are a significant concern, and a monoclonal antibody that could block the effects of fentanyl could act as a preventive measure. In accidental or intentional exposure, the antibody could quickly neutralize the drug’s effects, saving lives.
Like other opioids, it can be highly addictive. By blocking its effects, this monoclonal antibody might help reduce the rewarding and reinforcing effects of the drug, reducing addiction.
Developing such a monoclonal antibody is a complex process, requiring extensive research, clinical trials, and regulatory approval to ensure its safety and efficacy.
Addressing the opioid crisis requires a multifaceted approach, including prevention, education, access to treatment for substance use disorders, and the responsible use of opioids in medical settings.