A team of researchers has successfully treated rats with drinking disorders by injecting them with stem cells taken from humans. The rats had previously consumed the human equivalent of over one bottle of vodka every day for up to 17 weeks under free choice conditions, meaning the rats were never forced to consume the alcohol (but were selectively bred to prefer alcohol). After being injected with the stem cells, the rats chose to drink the alcohol 90% less on average.
Alcohol abuse and related disorders are an increasing issue in society and are a major contributor to pre-mature death worldwide. The objective of this study was to lay early ground work for finding a new therapy to treat alcoholism. Here is a quote from Yedy Israel, Professor at the University of Chile and the team lead for the study:
“After three months of chronic drinking, the animals were completely deprived of alcohol for two weeks. At the end of this period, they were given alcohol for only 60 minutes. Typically, the animals would engage in binge-like drinking during this short period, consuming the human equivalent of about eight standard drinks. Animals that had received the small-sized mesenchymal stem cells treatment consumed much less, levels comparable to that of a social drinker.”
Yedy and his team are now entering the process of finding partners to help transfer this study over to analysis of human participants.
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