Friday, June 29, 2012

Nicotine Vaccine Might Break Smoker's Addiction

Medical Advances

An article in CTV News reports on a vaccine developed in the U.S. that has proven effective against the effects of nicotine on mice; it might soon be available for humans trying to quit smoking:
The vaccine works by prompting the body to manufacture an antibody that is attracted to nicotine. The antibodies then move around the bloodstream, soaking up nicotine and preventing it from reaching the reward centres of the brain.
"As far as we can see, the best way to treat chronic nicotine addiction from smoking is to have these Pacman-like antibodies on patrol, clearing the blood as needed before nicotine can have any biological effect," the study's lead investigator, Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, a professor of genetic medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, said in a statement.
Researchers have tried before to vaccinate people against nicotine with anti-nicotine antibodies. But the antibodies disappeared after only a few weeks, so the vaccines ultimately failed.
This time, researchers turned to gene therapy and used the shell of a cold virus to ferry in genes to tell the body to make the nicotine antibody.
The genes also had “instructions” to harmlessly infect the mice’s livers so they could turn the organ as a factory to continuously churn out more antibodies.
One dose lasted for the mice's entire lifetime. If it works on humans, this is good news for the millions of persons who are addicted to cigarette smoking and want to quit. The findings appear in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

You can read more here at [CTV News]