How pharmacogenomics might help addiction treatment

Naltrexone Molecule

20 years ago, scientists got hooked on a single transcription factor that responds to a number of drugs of abuse. Will their work lead to treatments?

By Kerry Grens

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1 In 2003 David Oslin and Charles O'Brien at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Addiction Treatment and their colleagues reported an association between this SNP and how well patients responded to naltrexone.2 "We discovered that people with this allele do much better when randomly assigned to naltrexone than they do when they get placebo," says O'Brien.

O'Brien would like to include genetic data in addiction trials. "I think we ought to be genotyping all our clinical trials," he says. There are numerous genes whose polymorphisms might predict a person's risk for addiction and response to therapies, O'Brien adds. David Goldman at NIAAA says that understanding them might also...

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