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Quit Smoking with a new Vaccine for Smokers – Trial for Nicotine Block now Enrolling

June 11th, 2006

Quit Smoking with a new Vaccine for Smokers – Trial for Nicotine Block now Enrolling


The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) are now enrolling patients for phase II of “proof of principle” trial to test a nicotine blocking vaccine.

The UCSF’s Habit Abatement Clinic is testing NicVax, which is a vaccine being developed by Nabi Biopharmaceuticals.  The vaccine is intended to help people quit smoking by limiting the nicotine cravings.  The vaccine works with the immune system to keep nicotine from reaching the brain.

When nicotine reaches the brain it travels in the bloodstream to the brain.  When nicotine is in the brain it stimulates neuron-receptors that give a positive sensation which can develop into an addiction that is difficult to break.  With the vaccine, it makes the immune system make antibodies directed at small nicotine molecules.  The nicotine molecules will then become bound to the antibodies preventing the nicotine from reaching the brain.


"With little or no nicotine reaching the brain, smoking is less rewarding. That gives the smoker a chance to change the behavioral and social factors that also influence smoking," said Victor Reus, Md., who is the principal investigator for the study at UCSF.

The immune antibodies of this vaccine remain in the body for many months.  The researchers hope that the duration of the vaccine will prevent a relapse in smoking.  If a person started to smoke after a relapse, they wouldn’t get the nicotine rush that would get them to smoke again.


The researchers are asking for participants in this trial who are living in Northern California, are smokers, and are over 18 years old.  The duration of the trial is for 12 months and is free to participate.  The participants need to be able to come to San Francisco for injections and follow-up visits including five behavioral counseling sessions.  The research project will pay participants for each visit and parking at the clinic will be validated.  Interested smokers that want to participate in this trial are asked to visit their website www.ucsf.edu/nosmoke for more information.


"Most people who smoke want to quit, and they now have a number of options to help them reduce nicotine dependence and quit smoking," said Sharon Hall, PhD, co- principal investigator and director of the UCSF Habit Abatement Clinic. "A vaccine that could prevent the addictive action of nicotine is a promising alternative option."

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Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                   Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:47 PM