Booster Shots

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An anti-smoking vaccine fails

October 16, 2009 |  4:15 pm

Though the government recently announced that $10 million of stimulus money would be used to fund a phase 3 clinical trial of a promising anti-smoking vaccine produced by Nabi Pharmaceuticals of Rockville, Md., another company working on a similar vaccine has not been so successful. Cytos Biotechnology Ltd. of Zurich, Switzerland, said this week that a trial of its NIC002 nicotine vaccine had failed to meet its primary endpoint, a statistically significant difference in abstinence from smoking between those receiving the vaccine and those receiving a placebo.Smoking

The study, which is continuing, involved 200 smokers who were motivated to quit. The researchers found that the vaccine, designed to bind nicotine in the blood and prevent it from reaching the brain, was safe and well-tolerated. But apparently it did not stimulate high enough levels of antibodies to produce the desired response. The company will continue the trial for its scheduled 12-month duration to collect more data on efficacy and safety.

-- Thomas H. Maugh II

Credit: Burhan Ozbilici/Associated Press