DNA vaccine may halt nicotine addiction: study
An injection of genes that neutralize nicotine cravings could help smokers quit the habit, scientists claim.
According to a research team at Weil Cornell Medical College in New York, the “genetic vaccine” tested on mice so far could eventually be used to vaccinate children to prevent them from ever getting addicted to nicotine.
When vaccinated mice were given nicotine, the amount was cut by 85 percent before reaching the brain by antibodies. There were no other effects on behavior, blood pressure or heart rate.
Darren Griffin, professor of genetics at Kent University, warned that what works on mice may not necessarily work on humans.
The research is still at an early stage, with analysts predicting the vaccine is at least five years from reaching the market.
Some experts questioned the safety of the injection.
“Nicotine addiction via smoking is harmful, but is it ethical to produce a major and enduring change in someone’s body to prevent it when other, less major, types of treatment are feasible?” said Professor Anthony Dayan, a retired toxicologist.
The research appeared on the journal Science Translational Medicine.