Government funding will pledge $29 million to a series of research led by the University of Texas to combat alcoholism, a problem that costs the U.S. $249 billion a year.
Federally-funded research led by the University of Texas will seek drug treatments to switch alcoholics’ genes in the brain to a state in which the addiction genes are no longer present.
They are aiming to treat alcoholism and gain a deeper understanding of the changes in the brain caused by addiction.
Seven other research institutions will also participate in the five-year series of study.
A consortium led by University of Texas neuroscience professor Adron Harris will include the University of Pittsburgh, the Oregon Health and Science University, the University of Illinois, Chicago, the Scripps Research Institute, Stanford University, the Indiana University School of Medicine, and McGill University.
The administrative headquarters for this project and three of the 12 studies will be at the University of Texas, Austin. The university will receive $8.5 million of the total funding.
Previous work from Harris and his colleagues found striking differences in the way genes are expressed in the brains of alcoholics and those addicted to drugs compared to people who don’t have the disease. The research determined that hundreds, maybe even thousands, of genes are turned on or off as alcoholism forms, and as the addiction continues, the brain reprograms itself resulting in more and more changes and damage.
The current research series aims to correct those… (continue reading)