American researchers at Grinnell College in Iowa may be very close to developing effective treatments for nicotine addiction.
Researchers have uncovered a "key" that may "unlock" certain proteins that respond to the poisonous chemical which is found in tobacco.
Mark Levandoski, associate professor of Chemistry, examined the family of proteins in the nervous system that respond to nicotine.
Working with his students on the research project, he found that the proteins react to certain "keys".
The researcher believes that the new "lock" may provide new strategies for pharmaceutical companies to design drugs, and an easier way to overcome nicotine addiction.
The protein research, recently published in The Journal of Neuroscience, was supported by the National Institutes of Health and Research Corporation.