11 July 2013

Will DNA nanoparticles help you quit smoking?

Nanotechnology and genetic engineering will allow the development of a vaccine against nicotine

DailyTechInfo based on Gizmodo materials: Self-Assembling DNA Could Make You Immune to CigarettesEveryone knows that the reason why people smoke, chew or snort tobacco is nicotine, a substance that causes the strongest addiction.

This habituation makes the process of quitting smoking a difficult, painful and lengthy process, which absolutely does not guarantee the impossibility of returning to this bad habit again. To facilitate quitting smoking, scientists are developing various drugs, which, in most cases, include nicotine. But a group of scientists from the Biodesign Institute of the University of Arizona went a completely different way in the fight against smoking. They are working on creating a vaccine that will make the human body immune to nicotine and completely rid it of nicotine addiction.

All vaccines work by teaching the body's immune system to recognize and destroy harmful substances and microorganisms, cleansing the body before they cause any significant damage. In most cases, when creating vaccines, weakened non-viable strains of pathogens are used, unable to reproduce and cause damage to the body. The use of such strains makes it possible to guarantee that the immune system will precisely "tune in" to a certain type of microorganisms.

But in this case, in the case of nicotine, there are no pathogens and the immune system has practically nothing to tune into. Therefore, scientists led by Professor Yung Chang have created such a nicotine-containing artificial microorganism that can be used as a vaccine that adjusts the immune system to fight nicotine.

This artificial microorganism is a tiny nanostructure consisting of short DNA strands, which was obtained by self-assembly. This nanostructure contains nicotine molecules and some DNA elements that "tell" the immune system exactly how to deal with nicotine.

"Self-assembling DNA nanostructures are a powerful tool for designing and manufacturing synthetic vaccines. This method allows you to accurately control the location of various allergenic components inside the vaccine molecule," says Professor Chang, "This approach allows you to create completely new vaccines and improve the effectiveness of existing vaccines."

In the near future, the developed "anitinicotin" vaccine will undergo a phase of clinical trials. And on a broader scale, the method developed by scientists for creating self-assembling nanostructures from DNA can become not only a method of combating epidemics of various diseases. It is likely that with its help, vaccines against alcohol, drugs and other addictive substances will appear in the near future, which will make the human body invulnerable to the influence of many harmful habits.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru11.07.2013

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