Scientists working on anti-smoking vaccine
Russian scientists are currently working on the first ever vaccine which could help quit smoking; it may be available in pharmacies in as early as five years. Dmitry Ovchinnikov, Deputy Director General of the company developing the drug, Selecta RUS confirmed: “We’re currently going through the second phase of clinical trials.”
Selecta RUS is a subsidiary of an American innovation company which opened the Khimki branch in 2012. Ovchinnikov said that development of the ‘anti-tobacco’ and other vaccines was moved from the U.S. to Russia, as “experts of required qualification work here.” Favorable financing conditions were also a factor: for instance, the vaccine project has received a grant from Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The scientists noted that “existing methods of curing tobacco addiction are ineffective,” adding that the new vaccine will be a breakthrough. The drug makes recipient’s body start producing antibodies which block nicotine before it reaches the brain.
Khimki lab scientists are working on a molecular “nano-container,” which can precisely deliver vaccine components in cells which are responsible for launching immune reaction. Produced anti-bodies bind nicotine contained in blood; the resulting complex becomes too large to bypass the blood–brain barrier, which restrict diffusion of dangerous microscopic objects, such as bacteria and harmful molecules. As a result, nicotine cannot access the brain’s “pleasure center” – thus smoking ceases to bring the feeling of euphoria and satisfaction. The chain of pathological tobacco addiction is thus broken.