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 |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
SpinCare Electrospins And Shoots Wound Dressing
'Over her lacerated right shoulder he sprayed art-derm...' - Philip K. Dick, 1960
PEDOT Polymer Could Enhance Brain-Machine Interfaces
'the hair-fine wire going deep into Owen's brain, down into the pleasure center.' - Larry Niven, 1969.
BioVYZR Is Ready, Anti-Covid19 PAPR Lovers
'Some clad in the insulated space-suits, with their transparent glassite helmets.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1931.
Healight Ultraviolet Endotracheal Device Has Covid-19 Treatment Potential
'He applied the tip of the instrument to the interior of the wound...' - Cogswell, 1976.
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.
Flatcat Robot Recalls Both Heinlein And Simak
Sorry, you'll need to read the article.
Nuclear Batteries May Pack Inner Punch
'... the most super-valuable substance in the solar system.'
Elon Musk STILL Wants To Make Heinlein's 1940's Speedster
'As she neared the barrier the car surged and lifted...'
Mercury Capsule Ablative Shielding
'...a synthetic which air-friction would erode away.'
Heinlein And Russian Quail In Orbit
'No earth-hatched bird can learn to fly in that fashion...'
Listen Up, Coppertop - Wearable Device Turns You Into A Battery
'It's our way or the highway.'
Solar Powered Robot Cleans Up Solar Panels For Free
'... with large padded feet, who were apparently polishing their way the whole length of Rama's six artificial suns.'
Spot Arm From Boston Dynamics Picks Up Like Heinlein's Hired Girl Robot
'Anything larger than a BB shot it picked up and placed in a tray on its upper surface...'
Electric Vehicle Prices Will Drop To $2,890
'the human seats took up two-thirds of the room in each'
TIGER Ultimate Mobility Vehicle From Hyundai
'He admired the fast-plodding, articulated legs...'
Drones Communicate With Each Other Using Quantum Encryption
'the curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits...'
Space Construction Tools For Large Structures By OAC
'Mass-produced in the orbiting factories...'
SpinCare Electrospins And Shoots Wound Dressing
'Over her lacerated right shoulder he sprayed art-derm...'
Tesla Model S And X Moves Toward KITT Knight Rider Styling
Now, that was a Pontiac Trans Am with some real style.
Sophia Robots By The Thousands
'There is a built-in microphone that hears everything you say, and an electric brain that selects a suitable answer.'
Scaly-Foot Snail Works With Iron
'Micro-Scale suit tiles fabricated by genetically engineered metal affinity bacteria...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories