May 25, 2012

University of Texas gains hefty grant for drug treatment development

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have received a grant to work on developing medication to treat alcoholism and drug addiction.

The university recently announced it received a $3.3 million, five-year grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, to fund the project.

“The goal is to take some very new directions for developing medications for alcohol dependence and drug addiction,” R. Adron Harris, the project's principal investigator and director of the university's Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research, says in a university release. “Addiction is one of the most prevalent health problems in the country, and there are very few medications for treating it.”

The medication could target individual genes or brain signaling systems and could be a pill, Harris said. But it's too early to make assumptions, he added.

During the development of the medication, university researchers will aim to identify targets where alcohol and drugs affect the brain and later identify medications that would block alcohol and drugs from hitting those targets.

Click here to learn more about the University of Texas at Austin’s future research project.

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