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Health Agencies Update
October 17, 2001

Gene Therapy for Alcoholism?

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JAMA. 2001;286(15):1829. doi:10.1001/jama.286.15.1829-JHA10010-2-1

Gene therapy to deliver extra copies of a dopamine receptor may someday help alcoholics and drug addicts recover, report scientists from the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Previous Brookhaven research suggested that over time, alcohol and drug abuse destroy D2 dopamine receptors in the brain, essential for a normal pleasure response. To override this blunted response, addicts increase their drinking and drug using. The Brookhaven team hypothesized that adding D2 receptors might therefore decrease alcohol intake.