Identifying the addiction genes, new treatments for addiction, and the possibility of individually tailored drugs

Identifying the addiction genes, new treatments for addiction, and the possibility of individually tailored drugs are just a few of the issues a new Foresight project announced today will be investigating.

The Brain science, addiction and drugs project will look 20 years ahead at the possible opportunities and risks arising from rapid advances in brain science and drugs. It will cover topics such as:

  • the impact of drugs on the individual and society;
  • our understanding of addiction and how it might develop;
  • possible future addictive drugs and behaviours; and
  • possible future treatments for addiction.

Lead Minister for this project, Health Minister, Lord Warner said:

"Developments in this cutting edge field of brain science have brought many benefits and opportunities but new advances also create new risks, dilemmas and problems.'

'This project will try to identify the opportunities and risks, and plan for approaches to different types of addiction including drugs, in the future."

Sir David King, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, who is leading the project said:

"Over the next 20 years the genetic causes of addiction will become clearer, medical treatments could be tailored to suit an individual's addiction risk, and brain enhancing drugs could become more widely used.

"This project will investigate the impact these and other developments could have in the future on both individuals and society as a whole."

Three leading academics have recently been appointed to provide the detailed scientific input to the project. They are Professor David Nutt, Professor of Psychopharmacology at the University of Bristol, Professor Trevor Robbins, head of the Experimental Psychology Department at the University of Cambridge, and Professor Gerry Stimson, a public health sociologist at Imperial College, London.

The project will bring together Government, industry, academia, research funders, health professionals and others to inform long-term strategic planning.

The outcomes of the project will be presented in summer 2005. http://www.gnn.gov.uk

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