Gene therapy has been shown to reduce alcohol consumption in “alcoholic” rats, a finding that could help treat drug and alcohol addiction in humans.

As a follow up to previous work showing that gene therapy can reduce drinking in rats trained to prefer alcohol, researcher Panayotis Thanos at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Uptown, New York used the same technique to cut drinking in rats genetically engineered to prefer alcohol.

“Though we are still early in the process, these results improve our understanding of the mechanism or mechanisms of alcohol addiction and strengthen our hope that this treatment approach might one day help people addicted to alcohol,” says Thanos.

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