A new enzyme developed to break nicotine addiction
A recent article has just shed light on promising clinical pre-trials for an entirely new medical technology based on enzymes. After animal testing, the new product has demonstrated spectacular results in the fight against nicotine addiction. This new technology could lead to the development of an innovative and highly effective medical product to help smokers quit the habit.
An article in the online journal Science Advances revealed the results of the first wave of tests. Scientific research teams at Scripps Research laboratory tested a new, genetically modified enzyme. This new man-made proteins have effectively reduced nicotine addiction in tested rats.
Named NicA2-J1, the enzyme could lead to the creation of an entirely range of products to treat tobacco addiction. One of the most important aspects of this find was that subjects did not relapse after the treatment ceased. Reducing addiction to nicotine, without withdrawal symptoms, would be a first in medical history.
An original and encouraging approach
The main researcher leading this charge, Olivier George, is very enthusiastic about the results. Currently, 60% of those who try out cigarettes become daily smokers. Of this population of addicted individuals, 3 out of 4 will relapse after trying to quit. This new treatment would be a godsend for those suffering from dependency.
The way this enzyme changes the game is that it destroys nicotine before the molecule reaches the brain. The enzyme attacks the nicotine directly, in the blood stream, to reduce its psychoactive and therefore addictive potential. To achieve this result, enzymes were modified in the lab and tested rigorously for the anti-addictive properties of each version until the most effective was found.
Clinical pre-trials have proven the enzyme is highly effective in eliminating all signs of addiction in rats. Now it will have to be tested on a larger scale. The next step is obviously human test trials. These individuals will determine if the enzyme can be used safely, and without dangerous or uncomfortable side-effects.
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