Thursday May 24, 2018

Anti-smoking drug from nicotine-eating bacteria: Study

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New York: A bacterium that consumes nicotine may help scientists develop a powerful anti-smoking drug, says a study. 

The researchers found that the bacterial enzyme can be recreated in lab settings and possesses a number of promising characteristics for drug development.

“Our research is in the early phase of drug development process, but the study tells us the enzyme has the right properties to eventually become a successful therapeutic,” said one of the researchers Kim Janda, professor of chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in California.

The new research offers a possible alternative to current smoking cessation aids, which are shown to fail in at least 80 to 90 percent of smokers.

The idea behind an enzyme therapy would be to seek out and destroy nicotine before it reaches the brain — depriving a person of the “reward” of nicotine that can trigger relapse into smoking.

For more than 30 years, Janda and his colleagues have struggled to create such an enzyme in the lab, but they recently ran across a potential enzyme found in nature — NicA2 from the bacteria known as Pseudomonas putida.

It turns out this bacterium — originally isolated from soil in a tobacco field — consumes nicotine as its sole source of carbon and nitrogen.

In the new study, the researchers characterized the bacterial enzyme responsible for nicotine degradation and tested its potential usefulness as a therapeutic.

Importantly, the researchers detected no toxic metabolites produced when the enzyme degraded nicotine in the lab.

“The enzyme is also relatively stable in serum, which is important for a therapeutic candidate,” study first author Song Xue, graduate student at TSRI, said.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

(IANS)

 

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Smoking Before 15 May Develop Risk of Drug Problem in Boys

The data were then correlated with the age at which they started using cannabis, the researcher said.

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If boys start smoking pot in early teenage life, they may be at a higher risk of developing drug problem as a young adult, a new study has said.
Representational Image. Pixabay

If boys start smoking pot in early teenage life, they may be at a higher risk of developing drug problem as a young adult, a new study has said.

The findings, published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, suggested that boys who start smoking pot before the age of 15 are much more likely to have a drug problem at 28 than those who start at 15 or after.

According to the researchers, in these teens, the risk of having a drug abuse problem by age 28 is 68 per cent. But if they start smoking between 15 and 17 the risk drops to 44 per cent.

“The odds of developing any drug abuse symptoms by age 28 were non-significant if cannabis use had its onset at ages 15 to 17, but were significant and almost doubled each year if onset was before age 15,” the researchers, including Charlie Rioux from Universite de Montreal, said.

For the study, the researchers recruited 1,030 boys. Every year between ages 13 and 17, they were asked if they had consumed cannabis at all in the previous year.

At the age of 17, 20 and 28, the boys were again asked if they consumed cannabis as well as other drugs, including hallucinogens, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, tranquilisers, heroin and inhalants.

The data were then correlated with the age at which they started using cannabis, the researcher said.

If boys start smoking pot in early teenage life, they may be at a higher risk of developing drug problem as a young adult, a new study has said.
Early smoking can lead to drug problems in boys. Pixabay

The results confirmed that the younger boys started smoking marijuana, the more likely they had a drug problem later as young men.

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Even if those who start smoking cannabis at 17 years were at lower risk, frequent users — 20 or more times a year — at age 17 had almost double the chance of abuse by age 28 than occasional users.

“Since peer influence and delinquency were identified as early risk factors for earlier cannabis onset and adult drug abuse, targeting these risk factors in prevention programmes may be important, especially since prevention strategies working on the motivators of substance use have been shown to be effective,” Rioux noted. (IANS)

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