According to research by the Scripps Research Institute, an enzyme could be responsible for eliminating cigarette addiction in the near future
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute, located in California, United States, discovered that abstinence symptoms can be reduced in those who wish to quit smoking. The research claims that the researchers created an enzyme that eliminates nicotine addiction. Although the study is done in a laboratory with mice, they believe that it will not be long before they can apply it in humans.
Leer en español: ¡Increíble! Científicos podrían eliminar la adicción al cigarrillo
What did the study consist of?
Oliver George, who is an associate professor in the state and is one of the main authors of the study, said that "This is a very exciting approach because it can reduce nicotine dependence without inducing cravings and other severe withdrawal symptoms, and it works in the bloodstream, not in the brain, so its side effects should be minimal."
The figures are alarming, as the researchers estimated that 60% of the individuals who once tried a cigarette end up being potential smokers. In addition, 75% of those who once smoked and left it, smoke again.
The study focused on getting the enzyme called NicA2-J1 to prevent nicotine from reaching the brain, in addition to reducing its number in the blood. The enzyme is a modification of the bacterium Pseudomonas putida. The process that was used was to make a modification so that the bacteria increased its presence in the blood, in addition to optimizing its potency.
What were the results?
The results of the study were surprising, as it was shown that nicotine levels in the blood of mice decreased by a large percentage. This, as a consequence, also influenced the dependence of the animals on nicotine. In addition, for safety, the enzyme was tested on more sophisticated animals that were developed in Dr. Oliver's laboratory.
The rats spent 21 hours daily, for almost 2 weeks, in a chamber in which nicotine could be administered at will by pulling a lever. When learning to self-administer the alkaloid, they became addicted. After 12 days they were allowed to access nicotine only every 48 hours, which produced the abstinence syndrome.
Those animals that were treated with the enzyme NicA2-J1 continued to self-administer the nicotine. However, their blood levels were much lower than those that were not treated with the compound. In this regard, another of the authors of the study, Dr. Marsida Kallupi, said that "It's as if they were smoking 20 cigarettes but receiving the nicotine dose of only one or two, so that made their withdrawal process much less severe."
This study is a breakthrough in terms of the possibilities it offers us to be able to quit smoking without having the abstinence syndrome. We know that cigarettes are very harmful to health and being able to eliminate the feelings of the withdrawal syndrome is a great advance. It may take a little longer to achieve a perfect result, but we are sure that the researchers are on a very good track.
LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Antonacci
Translated from "¡Increíble! Científicos podrían eliminar la adicción a los cigarrillos"
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