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Thursday 20th June 2019

Smokers could soon get a jab to quit

28th June 2012

British experts say they are encouraged by research which has suggested that smokers could eventually be immunised against nicotine to help them kick the habit.


Publishing their study in Science Translational Research, US scientists told how they devised a vaccine that floods the body with an antibody to assault nicotine entering the body.

The findings, from a study in mice, may mean smokers no longer gaining pleasure from their habit.

Professor of genetics at the University of Kent, Darren Griffin, said the findings were “impressive” and had “great potential” but said the key issue remained over whether the biochemical effects in laboratory mice could be translated to a reduced addiction in humans.

Dr Simon Waddington from University College London said: “The technology underpinning gene therapy is improving all the time and it is encouraging to see these preliminary results that indicate it could be used to address nicotine addiction, which is damaging to the nation's health and a drain on the health service economy.”

The US study, carried out at Weill Cornell Medical College, showed levels of the chemical in the brain were reduced by 85% after vaccination but many more years of research lay ahead before the idea could be tested on people.

However, lead researcher Professor Ronald Crystal remained confident of the benefits and said: “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.”


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