A vaccine that will help smokers quit is in the works, as researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College were able to develop an innovative approach to nicotine addiction.
The researchers were able to successfully test a vaccine that will help treat nicotine addiction on mice.
The results of their study were published on Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine. A harmless virus is used by the vaccine to genetically modify liver cells, so that it consistently produces nicotine antibodies. These antibodies use up nicotine as it enters the bloodstream, destroying the chemical before it is able to trigger cravings to light up again.
Dr. Ronald Crystal, chairman of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell, shared: “The antibody is like a little Pac-Man floating around in the blood, and it grabs onto the nicotine and prevents it from reaching the brain, so there’s no reward… With a single administration of the vaccine, we converted the liver to make the antibody, and it lasts for the life of the mouse.”