New Smoking Vaccine Using Gene Therapy Being Developed

Posted: June 29, 2012 at 7:10 am

Featured Article Academic Journal Main Category: Smoking / Quit Smoking Also Included In: Immune System / Vaccines Article Date: 28 Jun 2012 - 2:00 PDT

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In a study reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine this week, Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City show how a single dose of the vaccine protected mice, over their lifetime, against nicotine addiction.

The addictive properties of the nicotine in tobacco smoke is a huge barrier to success with current smoking cessation approaches, say the authors in their paper.

Previous work using gene therapy vaccination in mice to treat certain eye disorders and tumors, gave them the idea a similar approach might work against nicotine.

The new anti-nicotine vaccine is based on an adeno-associated virus (AAV) engineered to be harmless. The virus carries two pieces of genetic information: one that causes anti-nicotine monoclonal antibodies to be created, and the other that targets its insertion into the nucleus of specific cells in the liver, the hepatocytes.

The result is the animal's liver becomes a factory continuously producing antibodies that gobble up the nicotine as soon as it enters the bloodstream, denying it the opportunity to enter the brain.

The researchers write:

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New Smoking Vaccine Using Gene Therapy Being Developed

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