A vaccine to help ex-smokers | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Help us keep you informed.

Real Science. Real News.


News

A vaccine to help ex-smokers

By
5:27pm, August 10, 2004

From New Orleans, at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience

By generating antibodies that neutralize nicotine, a vaccine could keep ex-smokers from getting the nicotine high that drives many of them back to their bad habit, according to a group of neuroscientists.

"Our focus is to prevent a relapse," says Sabina de Villiers of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

Since nicotine is too small a molecule to stimulate antibody production on its own, the Swedish group attaches nicotine to larger molecules known to trigger a vigorous immune reaction.

In rodents, such test vaccines generate antibodies with differing specificities for  nicotine, says de Villiers. With varying efficiencies, these antibodies bind to a nicotine molecule and prevent it from reaching the brain, she explains.

In one test, nicotine administered to vaccinated male rats didn't produce the typical release of dopamine, the brain chemical thought to underlie ma

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content