Self-Assembling DNA Could Make You Immune To Cigarettes

Nicotine, the reason why people smoke, chew or snort tobacco, is hard to quit. The American Heart Association says nicotine is about as addictive as heroin or cocaine, which explains why your cig-sucking coworkers get so grumpy and antsy leading up to a smoke break. Since quitting is so difficult and relapsing is so easy, scientists are eyeing vaccines that make addicts immune to nicotine.

The newest, from Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, uses self-assembling DNA nanoparticles to make your immune system into a high-precision, super-powerful nicotine-zapping machine.

Vaccines work by teaching the body's immune system to recognise and attack the offending substance, clearing it from the body before it can do any damage. For the best response, the target molecule must be properly displayed alongside immune system jump-starters that elicit an immediate response. By arranging these components on a nano-sized DNA scaffold that self-assembles into a precise 3D structure, the research team has created a vaccine delivery molecule that more closely mimics the natural components of the immune system. Yung Chang, who leads the research team, says the controllability of the self-assembling DNA makes a more effective vaccine.

“The DNA nanostructure enables rational design and construction of synthetic vaccines, because of its precision control over the placement of various antigenic components,” Chang says. “This approach may offer a new strategy to improve the efficacy of many different vaccines.”

While clinical testing is down the road, the DNA-based approach could be a super-precise targeting method for epidemic-fighting vaccines. And once nicotine, alcohol and cocaine vaccines become a reality, you could be fully immune to bad decisions. [ASU via KurzweilAInetwork]

Picture: Shutterstock/Stepan Kapl

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    Speaking as a nicotine addict, this doesn't quite make sense. As I'm already addicted to nicotine, all this will do is stop the nicotine from having an effect on me. So basically, I'd be going cold Turkey. It wouldn't make me stop wanting a cigarette, it would just mean I didn't get a 'hit' from the cigarette.

    Nicotine, the reason why people smoke, chew or snort tobacco, is hard to quit.

    Snort tobacco?!!?

    For any smokers out there wanting to quit that are reading this article go and buy an e-cigarette setup.

    I was a pack a day smoker for 10 years and tried many times to quit, I was usually pretty successful untill I found a drink in my hand.

    I bought an e-cigarette setup 6 months ago and havent looked back, I am now breathing better, fitter, I dont smell, my breath doesnt stink and much happier, way less dependant on nicotene as well. Yet I still get to puff on something now and then.

    Ive also converted about a dozen of my mates and my girlfriends mates to them as well...vaping well and truly is the future!

    They could of cause make it illegal to add nicotine so that new smokers are not addicted..

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