Narrator: This is Science Today. New research from UCLA demonstrates how genetics may be used to indicate which ethnic groups will benefit especially from naltrexone, one of the three medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of alcoholism. Psychologist Lara Ray, who led the study, explains how variations in a gene that codes for opioid receptors in the brain can be used to predict how a patient will respond to the drug.
Ray: The drug does not work for everyone, but it does seem to work better for patients who have this spelling variation in their DNA. The allele frequency, the frequency of the spelling variation, actually differs by ethnic group. Individuals of East Asian descent in particular, 50 percent of them have this polymorphism. That means they're much more likely, than any other ethnic group, to benefit from this finding.
Narrator: These results offer an example of how personalized medicine is an effective strategy for treatment. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.