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NIAAA to Fund Brain Bank Center for Alcohol Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism plans to support a resource that will develop a bank of brain tissues with related DNA samples that researchers can use to dive into the biology of alcoholism.

Under a new limited competition, NIAAA plans to fund a center that is already supported under an existing grant entitled the "Brain Tissue Resource Center for Alcohol Research" program to create the resource.

The award will fund a resource center to establish a DNA bank from a group of donor brains, develop a bank of brain tissues (fresh-frozen and formalin-fixed) from alcoholic and control cases, develop a donor program in Australia to enhance the brain bank, and support research groups interested in alcohol-related brain damage.

Australia serves as a good source for studying alcohol's effects on brains because of the prevalence of tissues from alcoholics who did not abuse other drugs, with the exception of nicotine.

Researchers have already been using brain tissue from a center that NIAAA has been funding for several years, the Brain Tissue Resource Center for Alcohol Research at the University of Sydney, in a range of research applications.

The studies of tissues from that center have documented alterations in the protein and mRNA abundance of neurotransmitter receptors, discovered epigenetic modifications in the brains of alcoholics, and used microarray gene expression analyses to find new brain signaling pathways.

According to NIAAA, there currently is no other brain bank like it in the world, including in the US.

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