Scientists are making progress on a nicotine vaccine that could provide a lifetime shield from the drug’s addicting properties. The addictiveness of nicotine has been the subject of much discussion on sites like www.ProjectKnow.com, which also emphasize how hard it is to kick the habit. This vaccine, however, gives smokers around the world hope; it is believed that this method could help not only those currently addicted, but potentially prevent future addiction altogether.
Nicotine addiction occurs when the drug hits the brain. Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York have created an antibody that will destroy nicotine immediately upon introduction into the system. The concept isn’t new, the breakthrough here is the fact that the new vaccine can be administered once and have effects that last a lifetime. The new vaccine enables the liver to produce nicotine dominating antibodies steadily throughout your life, halting the drug before it has a chance to assimilate into your system. As far as your body is concerned, the nicotine never entered your system.
The vaccine has been proven effective on mice, with primates next and humans after that. The mouse subjects showed a steady production of the antibodies once given the vaccine. When given both the vaccine and nicotine, their heart rate remained steady versus the mice who chilled out on nicotine alone. The plan is to get this vaccine into a humanly acceptable form as soon as possible.
Dr. Ronald Crystal, chairman of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell, said of the vaccine’s effect, “They will know if they start smoking again, they will receive no pleasure from it due to the nicotine vaccine, and that can help them kick the habit.” As for future applications, Crystal said, “Just as parents decide to give their children an HPV vaccine, they might decide to use a nicotine vaccine. We would of course have to weigh benefit versus risk, and it would take years of studies to establish such a threshold.”
The vaccine is bad news for tobacco companies raking millions of people over the coals, but good for humanity as a whole. One can’t help but wonder if this could lead to other addiction fighting vaccines in the future. Is it possible to stop the human body or mind from craving sugar, caffeine, alcohol, or life ruining hard drugs?
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