Mark A. Frye, M.D.
Dr. Frye has made significant advances in the understanding of the neurobiology of cravings and mood disorders comorbidity with alcohol dependence. Findings of gender differences in alcohol cravings and depressive symptoms have recently been published. Further studies of how these clinical differences relate to differential treatment response are under way.
Dr. Frye is the clinical core director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant (AA017830). The grant investigates the neurobiological underpinnings of alcohol cravings in recently detoxified alcoholic subjects utilizing novel functional brain imaging. This clinical magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) study will investigate whether glutamate and other brain metabolites correlate to alcohol craving severity and response to treatment with acamprosate. The study may potentially elucidate how acamprosate works and inform the development of a "spectroscopic template" for future new compounds being developed for the treatment of alcoholism.
Dr. Frye's clinical research team is exploring novel pharmacogenomic treatments for alcoholism with a focus on varenicline, a Food and Drug Administration-approved medication for smoking cessation. Because many patients with alcohol dependence are also smokers, the evaluation of varenicline for the treatment of alcohol addiction is a logical consideration. Early animal model studies have shown a reduction in alcohol intake with varenicline use.
Dr. Frye and his team continue to harvest clinically relevant data from alcohol treatment programs to help inform the research program. The main goal of the MRS project is to identify genetic components of alcoholism to improve the treatment paradigm through individualized pharmacological behavioral therapies.
The work that we have completed to date was made possible by the resources provided by the Samuel C. Johnson Program in the Genomics of Addiction.
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