Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NicVAX: Nicotine vaccine may be closer to reality

With more than 440,000 annual preventable deaths being attributed to smoking, something that helps people to find  their permanent path to cessation is of the utmost importance. While there are many options currently, the problem of tobacco on the state, national, and global levels is far from gone. The good news is a nicotine vaccine may be closer to reality thanks to some help from federal stimulus dollars.

The intention behind this vaccine is prevent re-lapses among smokers who have successfully quit and as an aid to help people quit in the first place. Because nicotine dependency and addiction are very difficult to treat, this vaccine presents hope for current smokers and for former smokers those who have found a successful way to quit and want to keep it that way.

How does the vaccine work?
NicVAX (registered trademark of Nabi Biopharmaceuticals) is a nicotine deriative bond chemically to a specially selected carrier protein using patented vaccine technology. NicVAX causes the immune system to produce anti-bodies that bind to nicotine and prevent it from entering the brain. The intention is for the anti-bodies the immune system produces to act as sponges which soak up all the nicotine and prevent it from going to the brain. Blocking nicotine from entering the brain helps to curb the reward system that creates and maintains nicotine addiction.

How close are we?
A large grant was given to Nabi Pharmaceuticals to enter into third phase clinical trails. This is the final trial and thus far it has proven very successful in helping smokers who are ready to quit get over the hump of the initial withdrawal period.

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