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What if you were immune to chronic pain? Vaccines could make it happen.

Scientists are developing vaccines for migraines and sciatica (back pain) – a win in the war against the overprescription of opioid drugs.

LOU REESE: For me, these hard problems, to be able to approach them with the intention of alleviating suffering in a large patient population, and globally – the opportunity to create accessible, safe and efficacious products to go after and train, to unlock the body's immune system and actually solve these problems ourselves is amazing.

So by turning the body into the drug factory – because it's naturally producing these endobodies – I think that's a revolution in terms of the way we're going to approach chronic illness. And so I'm pretty excited about that part.

So these are all vaccine-based approaches. What I like about vaccines is that if we can turn your body on to activate against something that is an agent of pain, that your body itself is generating, then you can have a very easy way to take the product – it's a single shot once a year, potentially – so you have a great compliance rate with your patients, so it's easy on your patient. The cost is absolutely affordable and attainable. So the cost becomes something that is accessible. And you are, in effect, having a long duration of that treatment. That's going to give us the best chances to, in my opinion anyway, it's going to be one of the approaches that maximize our chances against the opioids and against the epidemic that's outstanding.

In addition to that we have some other things in our pipeline that are focused on the absorption of opioids or the replacement of opioids from a pleasure perspective. That's earlier and so not really worth incorporating into what we're doing here, but it would be in like soon. Those first two are big. So, for example, we have an IL-6 vaccine that I'm really excited about. And there are indications surrounding sciatica there that are really compelling. And I think that that's a huge need in terms of being able to remove that suffering and that pain in a long-acting, affordable, and accessible way.

So that's an example. Another one is, there's been a lot of noise around CGRP and monoclonal antibodies that have been improved around that for migraine. And we've got a vaccine for CGRP that we're extremely excited about, and if you think about the benefits of that it means that – you know, one of the big problems with getting people to take drugs is when they feel better they don't want to take them. But if your body is fighting that same target then you don't have that same compliance issue. And so you actually make it easier for the patients to take the products that they're supposed to take in a timely manner and then maintain the benefits of those products. So I think that's going to be a really interesting product that we're going to bring to market and I think that's a huge need. And there's a bunch of indications around that that are in the pipeline for the non-opioid pain alternative, so it's pretty exciting and it's cool.

You have unbelievable rates of overdose happening in this country that are unprecedented. And we have an opportunity to – some of that is driven by genuine need and pain. And so some of those alternatives which are not particularly effective, and there's been more studies coming out around this over and over and over again, that I think we can find more effective alternatives that are safer than opioids. And I think that's really one of the other focuses of United Neuroscience and something that I'm personally passionate about, because the Alzheimer's and the unintentional death statistics are what are driving down our longevity for the first time in three consecutive years since the Spanish flu. So we should, morally, and we are, practically, focused on addressing those biggest possible problems. So it's only consistent and it's only right that we're also dedicating some resource and time and energy to addressing both the Alzheimer's epidemic, the Parkinson's epidemic, and also the non-opioid pain epidemic.

When we look at this going forward, just to underline it, I guess, these are diseases that don't discriminate. I can't articulate that enough. These diseases don't discriminate. They don't care how much money you have. They don't care where you live. They don't care what color your skin is. And the bottom line is that our medicines can't discriminate either. And so our platform technology enables us to be accessible. It enables us to actually go where the need is. And for that I'm eternally optimistic. So that's pretty much it.

  • Alzheimer's disease and unintentional deaths (like opioid overdoses and suicides) have been driving down U.S. longevity statistics for three consecutive years – a trend not seen since the Spanish flu pandemic.
  • Our current approach to treating chronic pain is drug-based, but a vaccine-based approach can cut addiction out of the equation.
  • You can vaccinate against pain! Scientists are developing vaccines for migraines and sciatica, which will lower the need for opioids, be cheaper, and make drug non-compliance a non-issue.

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