Nicotine 'Vaccine' Under Development

If nicotine can be prevented from reaching the brain, smokers will gain nothing from their addictive habit. This is the goal behind Selecta Bioscience's idea of developing a 'nicotine vaccine'.

While nicotine is not a virus, it can be targeted in the same way a virus is targeted, Langer and his colleagues believe. Selecta uses synthetic nanoparticles to prompt the immune system into creating specialized antibodies that bind to nicotine molecules, making the nicotine molecules large enough to initiate an immune response.

Antibodies instigated by the nanoparticles automatically attach to the surface of the modified nicotine molecule because their shape fits exactly. The resulting supersized nicotine compound is thereby prevented from crossing the blood-brain barrier and delivering the normal smoking kick...

The nicotine vaccine does not eliminate the craving for nicotine—instead, it diminishes the effect from smoking the cigarette. As a result, smokers who are given the vaccine will find that they can't alleviate their nicotine withdrawal symptoms by smoking...

A nicotine vaccine should also work for several years. Nicotine drugs like Chantix or Zyban, in contrast, stop working once the treatment ends, and such drugs can't be used longer than several months because of their severe side effects.

The company was cofounded by MIT engineer Robert Langer and Harvard immunologists Ulrich von Andrian and Omid Farokhzad.

Although not quite the same idea, I'm reminded of a creative approach taken to the same problem in sf great William Gibson's 1985 novel Neuromancer. In the story, Case is given a new pancreas by an employer to help him stay away from drug usage that could reduce his effectiveness as an employee.

"Wasting your time, cowboy," Molly said, when Case took an octagon from the pocket of his jacket.

"How's that? You want one?" He held the pill out to her.

"Your new pancreas, Case, and those plugs in your liver. Armitage had them designed to bypass that [stuff]." She tapped the octagon with one burgundy nail. "You're biochemically incapable of getting off on amphetimine or cocaine..."

"Eat it. Eat a dozen. Nothing'll happen."

He did. Nothing did.

Via MIT's Technology Review.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/3/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

China Accused Of Harvesting Organs From Unwanted Groups
'The death penalty was his immortality, and he would vote the death penalty for any crime at all.' Larry Niven, 1967.

Robothread Robotic Worms Crawling Through Your Brain
Perfect for clot-busting in the human brain. No Raquel Welch and no lasers, though.

Skin Electronics Can Show Electrocardiogram
'... the young men in the streets who applied polyimde OLED body film to their bared shoulders.' - Chen Qiufan, 2019.

Neurodevices For Consumers? Neuroethicists (And Philip K Dick) Say 'Caveat Emptor'
'They tried to use it today and it wouldn't work. No colors and no ceph patterns, neither one...' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...'

FlyZoo Robot Hotel By Alibaba
'... hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Implanted Memories Provide Songs To Birds
Finches can't tell the difference.

Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'

Shapeshifter Robot Is Comprised Of Cobots
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed. For an interval, the device struggled with itself...'

Google Commits To Fighting Deepfakes
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

China Accused Of Harvesting Organs From Unwanted Groups
'The death penalty was his immortality, and he would vote the death penalty for any crime at all.'

Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)
I can't resist science-fictional elements. Especially when they're real.

When Will We See The First Space Hotel?
'The heart of it was a vast hexagonal structure of welded metal, ten miles across...'

SpaceX Starhopper Has Flash Gordon Style
SpaceX makes retro cool spacecraft.

Mindar The Robot Buddhist Priest Offers A Blessing
'Not working is the hardest work of all.'

Does Your Company Need A 'Chief Dreamer'?
As far as the future is concerned 'they're the only experts we have'.

Helios Modular Touch Screen Wall Lights
'The walls and ceiling bore an irregular spacing of illuminum tiles...'

Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'

Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.