Nicotine Vaccines

The drugs currently available for the treatment of nicotine addiction have limited effectiveness, and the development of nicotine vaccines will provide a complementary strategy for existing therapies, but this has proven challenging. Creative Biolabs is a world leader in the field of vaccines against drugs of abuse. With our extensive experience and advanced platform, we are therefore confident in offering the best development services for methamphetamine vaccines.

Background of Nicotine Vaccines

Methamphetamine Vaccines– Creative Biolabs

Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death in the world and is estimated to cause nearly 6 million deaths worldwide each year. The main chemical that causes tobacco addiction is nicotine. Nicotine stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain, producing a subsequent sense of reward that leads to smoking addiction. The drugs currently available for the treatment of nicotine addiction have limited efficacy, and the challenging new treatment is vaccination against nicotine. Nicotine vaccines can be used to quit smoking and prevent recurrence of smoking, which stimulates the production of anti-nicotine antibodies (Abs). The resulting antibody binds to circulating nicotine, which is too large to cross the blood-brain barrier and does not stimulate dopamine release. Available evidence suggests that nicotine vaccination is well tolerated and can induce an immune response, but its effective increase in smoking abstinence has not yet shown so far.

Working Mechanism of Nicotine Vaccine

Working mechanism of the anti-nicotine vaccine.

Fig.2 Working mechanism of the anti-nicotine vaccine. (Torrice. 2018)

  • A vaccine against drug abuse consists of a carrier protein (blue) decorated with a hapten (green), which is a molecule similar to a targeted drug structure. The adjuvant (yellow star) helps to boost the immune system's response to the vaccine.
  • In the blood, dendritic cells phagocytose the carrier protein conjugate and process it. In lymph nodes, T helper cells are activated and then stimulate B cells to produce antibodies that bind to the drug. Adjuvants enhance the process by turning on pathways within the immune cells.
  • When a vaccinated person takes a drug, the produced antibody binds to the drug molecule in the blood.
  • The antibody-bound drug molecule cannot pass the blood-brain barrier, so the drug cannot activate the target receptor in the brain.

Efficacy and Safety of Nicotine Vaccines

The efficacy of the nicotine vaccine depends on the serum concentration of the antibody. This is affected by the quality of the vaccine, the dose, the frequency and the time interval between vaccinations. The concentration of antibodies in serum depends in part on some of the genetic factors that control the expression of HLA, cytokines, and T cell surface receptors, and it is unclear whether an individual with poor response to one vaccine responds poorly to another.

Antibodies elicited by vaccination are specific for nicotine and do not bind to other molecules, receptors or neurotransmitters. Data from a clinical trial showed that the severity of local reactions was mild (81%) and moderate (23%). The most common adverse events were bad taste, dry mouth, increase in weight at the injection site, and tenderness.

The Challenge of Nicotine Vaccines

Data from clinical trials suggest that many patients may not produce sufficient antibody responses. All clinical trials conducted showed that the antibody responses of all study groups were inconsistent, and individuals who received higher levels of anti-nicotine antibodies had higher rates of smoking cessation and abstinence. There are several ways to improve the efficacy of the vaccine. First, vaccine potency must be improved, for example by introducing new vectors and/or adjuvants to stimulate a higher immune response. Alternatively, personalized medical methods should be applied to target subjects who have a strong immune response to vaccination. Finally, vaccines can be combined with existing or novel drug therapies to maintain smoking cessation and prevent recurrence.

Creative Biolabs is a leader in vaccine development and has focused on drug abuse vaccines for many years. We have the experience to provide a wide range of quality services to our customers around the world. Please feel free to contact us if necessary.


  1. Goniewicz M L and Delijewski M. (2013). Nicotine vaccines to treat tobacco dependence. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 9(1):13-25.
  2. Thomas V, et al. (2014). Review on Anti-nicotine Vaccine-The Smoker’s Angel. International Journal of Scientifi c Study.
  3. Torrice M. (2018). Enlisting the immune system to fight addiction Vaccines against drugs of abuse could help prevent relapse but have yet to be effective in clinical trials. Chemical & Engineering News, 96(8): 18-21.

Our services are for research use only. We do not provide services directly to individuals.

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