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Nicotine Vaccines And Nanomedicine
Clouds Of Smoke
Stop Smoking Vaccine
Non-toxic nanoparticles can be of great assistance to immunologists looking for alternative vaccine delivery mechanisms in order to rid the vaccination process of the need for needles. Pulmonary vaccine delivery already looks like one such candidate due to the series of benefits that the needless process can have, and now researchers are proposing new methods to take things one step further. Supposedly non-toxic nanoparticles are being looked at for use in initiatives such as the anti nicotine vaccine which will help smokers rid themselves of the vice and improve society health rates in a proactive manner. It is an interesting use for vaccines which generally find themselves in the position to prevent diseases rather than curbing a person's vices. These addiction nanoparticles could eventually find themselves on a pharmacy shelf beside the anti drinking pills and other addiction assistants. An anti nicotine vaccine that renders this veritable disease of the mind before one has to chance to smoke long enough to really increase cancer risks and other health side effects is probably a welcome thing in a world where many nations coexist with the fact that smoking and nicotine is one of the top causes of death among citizens.
Nanoparticles already exist within cigarette smoke itself and there is constantly research being done to decipher the numbers within the smoke which is an ever evolving toxic mixture of chemicals that most people would never willingly let enter their body if not for the short term benefit of satisfying the addiction. Now what if the smoker could take a vaccine of tested non-toxic nanoparticles that would aid with smoking cessation. That is precisely what Selecta Biosciences and a few other vaccine startups are looking to do with their new products. Building upon the principle that it is extremely hard to quit smoking despite the user knowing that it is a nasty an harmful habit to have, the company is trialing a vaccine method that implements engineered nanoparticles to create an immune response in the smoker that results in antibodies being attached to the nicotine molecules in the person's bloodstream. From there the nicotine has a tough time crossing the blood brain barrier due to the increased size of the nicotine molecule + non-toxic nanoparticle combo. Synthetic vaccines look to be a hot emerging field of nanotechnology as companies can now custom design their own models of vaccination without the need to rely on weakened strains of a virus or other organic material. It is a simple progressive step to assume that anti nicotine vaccines could soon lead to similar products for illegal drugs as well. One could imagine that the same thing could be done with the THC molecule of marijuana and likewise other illicit substances.
However, the anti nicotine vaccine using nanoparticles that have not had time to be fully understood as far as their toxic effects could have an array of unwanted characteristics. Many governments have already been looking at implementing large scale anti-nicotine vaccine initiatives to eliminate smoking or try to prevent smoking in children and teens before they have the chance to develop the habit. If the NPs prove to be toxic nanoparticles in the long term, such efforts might have undesired health consequences for the young participants. At the moment it looks like anti nicotine vaccines such as NicVax by Nabi Pharmaceuticals is proving to be too expensive to implement according to the strictly cost-benefit economic analysis that some countries have pursued. If improved nanoparticle synthesis reduces the cost then there is no telling what may happen. Secondly, the early implementation of these vaccines is problematic because in some cases a smoker can simply consume multiple cigarettes in a row to overwhelm the antibodies and allow the nicotine to reach the brain anyway. This could actually lead to increased smoking and the smoking of stronger brands of cigarettes rather than quitting smoking. As with all of the new nanotechnology, the vaccines should be fully tested and researched so that one does not unintentionally deliver toxic nanoparticles to the "patients," and as for the moral use of such a nanotechnology, it should be a opt-in program rather than a mandatory mass vaccination as some have suggested.