Nicotine vaccine goes on trial – profound development says ASH, if it can be made to work

Monday 10 September 2001

ASH press release


Monday 10 September 2001


Nicotine vaccine – profound development


Responding to news of trials of a nicotine vaccine by Xenova:


Clive Bates, Director of ASH responded enthusiastically:


“A nicotine vaccine would be a profound development, which would effectively become one of the most important medicines in the response to cancer, lung and heart disease.  By helping people to quit smoking we can tackle about 50 different diseases related to smoking before they can actually occur.


“About a third of smokers, or 4 million people,try to quit each year, but the vast majority relapse within days or weeks and start to smoke again. If a vaccine helped reduce the relapse rate, then it could change everything. If smokers could quit when they wanted to – and most do want to – then the tobacco companies would be dead in the water.


“As we understand it, the vaccine blocks nicotine from reaching the brain – smokers would still feel nicotine withdrawal symptoms but would not be able to relieve them with nicotine. It would be a bit like putting the cigarettes out of reach and then gritting your teeth while the withdrawal takes its course.


But ASH also sounded note of caution…


“This is early days, the trial is about the safety not the effectiveness of the treatment, and sometimes hype can conceal just how far there is to go. No-one should hold back from trying to quit now in the hope there will be a magic potion in a few years.”
Contact: Clive Bates: 020 7739 5902 (office)077 6879 1237 (mobile).  ISDN Available.