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View Full Version : Nicotine Vaccine May Snuff Out Smoking



SnakebyteXX
05-14-2005, 09:49 PM
by Joe Gandelman

Anyone who has tried to stop smoking knows it's an ordeal that studies show may mean several failed attempts before final success — but now a new anti-nicotine vaccine offers hopes that QUICK help may be on the way.

Initial studies of the vaccine by Swiss pharmaceutical company Cytos Biotechnology suggests it may be just what the puffing-world has been waiting for. The results from phase two of the clinical trial were presented at American Society of Clinical Oncology in Florida. And, as the Los Angeles Times notes, they were highly promising:
Nearly 60 percent of smokers who achieved high levels of antibodies against nicotine after receiving the vaccine stopped smoking completely for at least six months....About one-third of those who developed lower levels of antibodies stopped smoking, about the same fraction as those who received a placebo vaccine, according to Dr. Jacques Cornuz of Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in Lausanne, Switzerland, who led the study.

"The data clearly suggest that antibodies against nicotine are effective in helping people quit smoking," Cornuz said. "This confirms the concept of vaccination (against smoking)."

According to Health Talk, this part of the study included 341 smokers. Two thirds got the vaccine. One third received a placebo. All were counseled about quitting smoking.

The Scotsman reports that it could be available on a large scale within 5 years — but some bugs have to be worked out first:
Although the body’s immune system does not normally react to nicotine, scientists have combined the chemical with a protein to trigger a "blocking" response when the vaccine is given. The antibodies produced then attach themselves to any nicotine circulating in the bloodstream, forming a compound too big to cross into the brain.

A bigger trial with higher dosages is now due to take place in 2007. If successful, it is hoped the vaccine would be approved for use by various health authorities in 2008 and be on the market by 2010....

The trial also reported some side-effects, including flu-like symptoms on the day of injection as well as redness and swelling where the injection was given. But all these effects subsided by the end of the day, according to Dr Renner. He said: "The data shows elegantly that we can use the body’s own defence, the immune system, to modulate even such complex conditions like addiction."
He said similar vaccine techniques were being considered for diseases such as high blood pressure, obesity and Alzheimer’s.

But Times Online quotes one expert who notes that even if this vaccine is made available, it could take awhile until the whole world would beneift:


Deborah Arnott, director of Action on Smoking and Health, said that vaccines offered the chance for a major advance.

But although the West might benefit, the rest of the world would probably be neglected because of the expense. “We still have to worry about stopping people from becoming addicted to smoking in the first place,” she said.

web page (http://www.themoderatevoice.com/posts/1116129671.shtml)

Scott Lee
05-14-2005, 10:01 PM
SnakebyteXX...That does sound promising. However, the majority of people who still smoke, do so because they WANT to. Only a small percentage of smokers who actually want to quit, would benefit from this vaccine. Since most smokers do NOT want to quit, I wonder if this vaccine would even work for them. Still it's certainly a positive step!

Scott Lee

catscradle
05-17-2005, 12:05 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Scott Lee:</font><hr> SnakebyteXX...That does sound promising. However, the majority of people who still smoke, do so because they WANT to. Only a small percentage of smokers who actually want to quit, would benefit from this vaccine. Since most smokers do NOT want to quit, I wonder if this vaccine would even work for them. Still it's certainly a positive step!

Scott Lee <hr /></blockquote>

You absolutely right when you say most smokers who really want to quit succeed at quitting. What this sounds like it does is prevent the nicotine from being able to cross the blood/brain barrier thereby rendering it ineffective. After haven't taken it the person would no longer be able to satisfy any nicotine cravings, making smoking pointless for them and maybe they would quit. It may just work for them, but leave them wishing it didn't.
I could see a similar thing being developed for alcohol, no matter what the persons blood alcohol level rose to it wouldn't be able to cross to the brain and do it's business.