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Genetics of Opioid Addiction Under Study

Coriell Institute for Medical Research investigators and their colleagues have launched a study to examine the influence of genetics on opioid addiction and abuse, the Philadelphia-area public radio station WHYY reports.

With $4 million in funding, Coriell researchers and clinicians at Cooper University Hospital and Rowan University are developing a biobank of brain and blood samples from people who died from an opioid overdose, and are also conducting a study of people in treatment for opioid-use disorder and a study of people who have been prescribed opioids for chronic pain, but who have not become addicted, it adds.

Through this, WHYY says the researchers aim to investigate genetic variation affecting brain pathways involved in addiction as well as search for new patterns. At the same time, they hope to develop a risk-assessment tool to help clinicians identify chronic pain patients who might be at an increased risk of developing opioid addiction.

That way, Coriell's Stefan Zajic tells WHYY, clinicians can prescribe a lower dose of the drug, prescribe a different drug, or monitor at-risk patients more closely.