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Stem Cell Research for Alcohol-induced Disorders


Stem cells are master cells in the body and they have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types. Stem cells may become a renewable source of replacement cells to treat alcohol related diseases. They can also be used to study disease processes, and to develop new and more effective drugs.

Recent research progress on stem cells has offered great opportunities to study conditions and diseases related to alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Stem cells can come from embryos or adult tissues. They are generally categorized into 1) Embryonic stem cells; 2) Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells); and 3) Adult stem cells. The NIAAA supports SBIR/STTR research using any of these 3 types of stem cell, which can lead to improved understanding of alcohol related diseases and conditions, and better treatment.

Areas that may be of interest to small businesses include, but are not limited to:

A. Generate and disseminate induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) from mature human cells to resemble diverse individual variations regarding alcohol metabolism. Use these genetic variant models to study alcohol dependence and pharmacotherapy development. Examples of these genetic variations include Alcohol Dehydrogenase (ADH), Aldehyde Dehydrogenase (ALDH), cytochrome P450 isozyme CYP2E1, and Glutathione S transferase (GST).

B. Generate and disseminate disease-specific iPS cell lines for studies on the biology and signaling pathways that contribute to the alcohol-related disease pathology.

C. Study the potential of using patient-specific iPS cells for cell replacement therapies to treat alcohol-caused tissue damages.

Peter Gao, M.D.



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