Researchers Move Closer to a Nicotine Vaccine

chemical derivatives to help in medical science

chemical derivatives to help in medical science
The Brains Pathways by NIDA via CC

Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute have been working on a vaccine that will help smokers ditch the deadly habbit. It’s a well known fact that nicotine is highly addictive and this stops so many people each year from being able to just put the habit behind them.

The researchers from Scripps attempted a vaccine in past years, but their vaccine didn’t make it through clinical trials with a high enough success rate. This didn’t stop the research team from persevering and now their efforts have proven successful in the labs test subjects.

The team has produced a vaccine that works with the bodies’ own immune system to treat nicotine as the harmful intruder it is. With the vaccine the body is trained to handle nicotine as a foreign invader similar to an infection.

Once the body senses an invasion like this, its natural response is to attack the foreign substance, bind to it and create antibodies to fight against it in preparation for any future run-ins. This response effectively stops the nicotine from ever reaching the person’s nervous system and brain. While, this method is not meant to provide nicotine withdrawal relief, it goes a step further in stopping the pleasurable sensation that results from nicotine in the brain. A signal triggered by the substance is sent to the brain and this is what ultimately lands people addicted to nicotine in the first place.

The sensation nicotine addicts feel when nicotine enters the bloodstream is what inevitably keeps them tied to a habit that they know is killing them. By stopping this reaction in the nervous system and brain, the person doesn’t experience any sensations that would merit a continued habit.

How did they do this? Well, they attached a specific derivative of nicotine called Haptens to a larger sized carrier protein and sent it into the body. While this method of introducing a foreign substance to the body in attempts to build antibodies against it is not new, it is a highly proven method. This approach to changing the way our body responds to invaders is used in several successful vaccines on the market today.

The team of scientists from The Scripps Research Institute focus their research efforts primarily in the areas where there are unmet medical needs that require solutions.

This is a giant step in the right direction for medical science and the thousands of individuals that suffer from nicotine addiction.

To read the full report including an interview with the Scripps Research Institute,  See it Here.

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