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M. D. Anderson Tobacco Researchers Reach 1,800 Mark

M. D. Anderson Tobacco Researchers Reach 1,800 Mark
Continue Helping Smokers Quit
M. D. Anderson News Release 11/14/01

Tobacco researchers have enrolled more than 1,800 smokers in nicotine cessation studies at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer in the past two years.

Women and men have been participating in about equal numbers, according to researchers, and include participants of all ages, ranging from teens to senior citizens. 

"We're about three-fourths of the way to our combined recruitment goals for these studies," says Dr. Paul M. Cinciripini, director of the Tobacco Research and Treatment Program, and principal investigator for several studies. 

To date, exactly 1,803 individuals have participated in tobacco cessation clinical trials during the past two years.

"We still need volunteers for three studies that offer promise for smokers trying to quit," Dr. Cinciripini says.

Studies currently enrolling participants include:

  • Computer-Assisted Smoking Cessation. Determining the effectiveness of combining several smoking cessation treatments (scheduled smoking, nicotine patches and use of a hand-held computer) to learn which combination of treatments is best to help smokers kick the habit.  Volunteers have free use of a hand-held computer during the study. The National Institutes of Health is funding the four-year, $1.3 million study.
  • Psychophysiological Examination of the Emotional Responses of Smokers. Measuring how smoking and nicotine withdrawal affect mood in smokers, some who may have inherited a susceptibility to nicotine addiction. Participants view pleasurable, aversive and smoking-related pictures, including images of burn victims and sexual images, while their physical response to each is measured in a nicotine-deprived state. The National Cancer Institute is funding the two-year,  $260,000 study.
  • Project STOP. Testing the effectiveness of a treatment program that includes the nicotine patch, self-help materials and counseling, to help smokers quit and stay off cigarettes forever. This study includes hand-held computers that are programmed with individualized, situation-specific coping strategies, motivational and supportive messages. The National Institute of Drug Administration is funding the five-year, $490,001 study.

"Previous studies have shown that the best ways to break cigarette addiction are nicotine replacement using the patch, gum or nasal spray, or smoking on a schedule, instead of smoking whenever the desire occurs," Dr. Cinciripini says.

Additionally, research has revealed a possible hereditary component to nicotine addiction, in that some smokers receive more pleasure from nicotine than others because of changes in the level of the brain chemical dopamine, he says. For this reason, some smokers are able to quit "cold turkey," and others have a more difficult time quitting.

For more information, or to enroll in any of these studies, call (713) 792-2265 or visit the Tobacco & Cancer Web site.

11/14/01


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