Researchers at Arizona State University want to help people quit smoking by taking the fight against nicotine addiction to the nano scale. Thanks to a $3.3 million grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Yung Chang and her colleagues at the Biodesign Institute, “will attempt to design a vaccine conferring immunity to nicotine, using nanoscale structures assembled from DNA.” Chang said: “The DNA nanostructure enables rational design and construction of synthetic vaccines, because of its precision control over the placement of various antigenic components.”
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What’s the Big Idea?
The researchers hope to identify promising candidates for a new nicotine vaccine and advance them toward Investigational New Drug submission. According to Chang, the approach taken by the Biodesign institute may offer a new strategy to improve the efficacy of many different vaccines. “The researchers emphasize that if their DNA nanotechnology approach proves successful, it could plausibly be applied to the development of future vaccines against any target of interest, including other drugs of abuse, infectious agents or tumor antigens, thereby opening an entirely new chapter in vaccine development.”