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  1. Research

Nicscreen: Screening Tools to Identify Nicotine Receptor Activity

Principal Investigator: Glenn Kirsch and Michael Orr

Funding Mechanism: Research Contract 

ID number: HHSF223201310070C

Award Date: 8/2/2013

Institution: ChanTest Corporation


Nicotine is the main addictive component in tobacco that acts through binding to the nicotine receptor. There are other components of tobacco that can mimic nicotine by altering the activity of the nicotine receptor, potentially increasing the addictiveness of the product. The NicScreen project will involve the development and use of screening tools to rapidly identify tobacco product constituents with selective nicotine receptor subtype modulation properties; the goal is to identify nicotine-like constituents that could potentially alter the nicotine receptor activity. As part of this project, investigators will develop in vitro pharmacological assays (receptor and cell level) to detect similarities and differences between tobacco products at the molecular level. The five different cell types and a to-be-determined high-throughput technique for assessing direct receptor function will be used to determine if tobacco product constituents (individual and mixtures of compounds) have selective nicotine receptor activity. In addition, the projects may attempt to develop methods for evaluating similarities and differences in the pharmacological profiles of tobacco products marketed in the U.S. A more detailed understanding of tobacco product pharmacology and constituents will help inform FDA's work in setting tobacco product standards and regulatory policy.