CAMH protein discovery may lead to new treatment to prevent smoking relapse

Scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have identified a potential new approach to preventing smoking relapse, which occurs frequently in smokers who attempt to quit, despite current treatments.

"We have developed a protein peptide that may be a new type of highly targeted treatment to prevent smoking relapse," says Dr. Fang Liu, Senior Scientist in CAMH's Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Liu and her team initially found that can enhance binding between two types of – a and a glutamate receptor. They identified the sites where the two receptors bind together. With this information, they were able to generate a protein peptide to disrupt the binding of the two receptors.

Working with CAMH Senior Scientist Dr. Anh Dzung Le, the peptide was then tested in an animal model of relapse. As anticipated, it had the effect of reducing attempts to seek nicotine.

"These discoveries present an avenue to develop an anti-smoking medication that directly targets the relapse process by focusing on this brain target," says Dr. Liu, whose study was published online in the today. "We hope that it will lead to an alternative treatment for smokers who aren't succeeding with current medications." A year after treatment with current medications, only about 20 per cent of people remain abstinent, past research shows.

"As research continues, future steps are to determine how this discovery can be translated into a novel intervention for patients," says Dr. Liu. "We are optimistic that our findings will lead to new options for treatment for smoking, which is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and premature death in our society."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New study demonstrates nicotine's role in smoking behavior

Feb 27, 2007

Tobacco dependence is the leading cause of mortality in Canada. Although most smokers express a desire to stop smoking, only a small number are able to succeed. A new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health ...

Helping ex-smokers resist the urge

Oct 22, 2012

A new inhibitor helps previously nicotine-addicted rats stay on the wagon, according to a study published on October 22nd in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments