3. GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

Study shows promise of gene therapy for alcohol use disorder

Study shows promise of gene therapy for alcohol use disorder
Written by ZJbTFBGJ2T

Study shows promise of gene therapy for alcohol use disorder  OHSU News

Study shows promise of gene therapy for alcohol use disorder

Gene Therapy Shows Promise in Reducing Alcohol Use Disorder

Kathleen Grant, Ph.D., professor and chief of the Division of Neuroscience at OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Research Center. (OHSU/Christine Torres Hicks)

Kathleen Grant, Ph.D., professor and chief of the Division of Neuroscience at OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Research Center. (OHSU/Christine Torres Hicks)

UPDATE: This story was updated Sept. 11 to clarify gene therapy is being used in clinical trials for Parkinson’s disease and a rare genetic disorder in children.

Introduction

A form of gene therapy currently used in clinical trials to treat Parkinson’s disease may dramatically reduce alcohol use among chronic heavy drinkers, researchers at Oregon Health & Science University and institutions across the country have found.

The Study

The study in nonhuman primates showed that implanting a specific type of molecule that induces cell growth effectively resets the brain’s dopamine reward pathway in animals predisposed to heavy drinking. The gene therapy procedure involves brain surgery, and may be useful in the most severe cases of alcohol use disorder.

Nature Medicine“>The study published today in the journal Nature Medicine.

Implanted Virus and GDNF

The implanted virus is not harmful and carries a gene that codes for the protein known as glial-derived neurotrophic factor, or GDNF. It was injected in a specific area of the brain of a group of rhesus macaque monkeys that voluntarily and heavily drink ethanol diluted in water. After four macaques underwent the procedure, researchers found their consumption dropped by more than 90% compared with a control group.

Effectiveness of the Therapy

“This was incredibly effective,” said co-senior author Kathleen Grant, Ph.D., professor and chief of the Division of Neuroscience at OHSU’s Oregon Primate National Research Center, or ONPRC.

GDNF is known as a growth factor, and in this case, researchers measured enhanced function of neurons in the brain that synthesize dopamine, a feel-good chemical released in the brain. In the case of alcohol use disorder, chronic drinking decreases the release of dopamine.

“Dopamine is involved in reinforcement of behavior, and in people finding certain things pleasurable,” Grant said. “Acute alcohol use can increase dopamine. However, by drinking it chronically, the brain adapts in such a way that it decreases the release of dopamine. So when people are addicted to alcohol, they don’t really feel more pleasure in drinking. It seems that they’re drinking more because they feel a need to maintain an intoxicated state.”

Researchers enhanced dopamine by delivering GDNF to an area of the brain where dopamine is located.

Implications and Future Research

The results were dramatic. “The monkeys that were treated with this gene permanently started overexpressing dopamine and they decreased their drinking substantially,” Grant said.

Alcohol use disorder and deaths related to alcohol remains a significant problem in the United States and around the world, with an estimated 140,000 deaths annually from alcohol-related causes, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health. The estimated worldwide annual death toll is estimated at 2.4 million.

The new study describes a form of treatment that permanently alters the brain through surgery, so the therapy would be limited to those with the most severe forms of alcohol use disorder, Grant said.

Conclusion

This groundbreaking research on gene therapy for alcohol use disorder highlights the potential for innovative treatments in addressing global health challenges. By targeting the brain’s dopamine reward pathway, this therapy offers hope for individuals with severe alcohol use disorder who have not responded to traditional treatments. As we strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being, it is crucial to invest in research and development of novel therapies that can improve the lives of individuals affected by alcohol use disorder.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators Analysis

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

  • SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

The article discusses the use of gene therapy to treat alcohol use disorder, which is related to the goal of promoting good health and well-being (SDG 3). Additionally, the article mentions the use of ethanol diluted in water for the study, which relates to the goal of ensuring clean water and sanitation (SDG 6). The article also mentions the severity of alcohol use disorder and its potential consequences, which connects to the goal of promoting peace, justice, and strong institutions (SDG 16).

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

  • Target 3.5: Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol
  • Target 6.1: Achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all
  • Target 16.1: Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere

The article highlights the potential of gene therapy as a treatment for alcohol use disorder, which aligns with Target 3.5 under SDG 3. The use of ethanol diluted in water for the study also relates to Target 6.1 under SDG 6, as it involves the provision of safe drinking water. The discussion of the consequences of alcohol use disorder and the potential for harm connects to Target 16.1 under SDG 16, which aims to reduce violence and related death rates.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

  • Indicator 3.5.1: Coverage of treatment interventions (pharmacological, psychosocial, and rehabilitation and aftercare services) for substance use disorders
  • Indicator 6.1.1: Proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services
  • Indicator 16.1.1: Number of victims of intentional homicide per 100,000 population, by sex and age

The article does not explicitly mention specific indicators, but the progress towards the identified targets can be measured using the indicators mentioned above. The coverage of treatment interventions for substance use disorders (Indicator 3.5.1) can be used to assess progress towards Target 3.5. The proportion of the population using safely managed drinking water services (Indicator 6.1.1) can measure progress towards Target 6.1. The number of victims of intentional homicide per 100,000 population (Indicator 16.1.1) can be used to measure progress towards Target 16.1.

Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being Target 3.5: Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol Indicator 3.5.1: Coverage of treatment interventions (pharmacological, psychosocial, and rehabilitation and aftercare services) for substance use disorders
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation Target 6.1: Achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all Indicator 6.1.1: Proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services
SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions Target 16.1: Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere Indicator 16.1.1: Number of victims of intentional homicide per 100,000 population, by sex and age

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: news.ohsu.edu

 

Join us, as fellow seekers of change, on a transformative journey at https://sdgtalks.ai/welcome, where you can become a member and actively contribute to shaping a brighter future.

 

About the author

ZJbTFBGJ2T