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Vaccine to help smokers kick the habit shows promise

Published on 15/07/04 at 04:01pm

A vaccine designed to help smokers kick the habit has shown promise in its second phase I trial, boosting shares of UK biotech company Xenova.

Sixty smokers took part in the trial aimed at exploring the safety and efficacy of the vaccine TA-NIC and the levels of anti-nicotine antibodies it produced, as well as clues to what dose should be used in later trials.

The smokers receiving higher doses were found to have produced a greater number of antibodies than those on lower doses. Although the trial was not designed to show TA-NIC's effect on quit rates, it nevertheless demonstrated that 9 of the 44 (43%) on the vaccine voluntarily gave up smoking or reported reduced pleasure from the habit, compared to just 1 out of the 11 (9%) receiving the placebo.

Xenova chief executive David Oxlade said: "We are most encouraged by these results. The next stage of trials will test TA-NIC's ability to help smokers break the habit and thereby reduce the serious consequences to health caused by smoking."

The news follows an announcement in June that another of the company's vaccines named TA-CD had shown potential to help cocaine addicts overcome their addictiction.

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