Narrator: This is Science Today. Finding new treatments for alcoholism and addiction is the basic mission at the University of California, San Francisco's Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center.
Hopf: One of the great things about our center is that we have all these different disciplines. People work on flies and worms and humans and us on rodents. And everybody has to work together.
Narrator: Researcher Woody Hopf recently discovered that a drug that's already FDA-approved as a muscle relaxant, significantly decreased alcohol consumption in a rat model of heavy drinking. Hopf says that being able to walk down the hall to discuss his findings with colleagues working with humans has been very valuable and they're now setting up human clinical trials to test the drug.
Hopf: We want to find out under a controlled situation whether there are unanticipated side effects or other negative effects. These things can be very complicated, especially if you're an alcoholic and the biochemistry of your body and your brain are already very different from a normal human.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.