A leading cause of morbidity and premature mortality worldwide, excessive alcohol consumption accounted for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age American adults (aged 20-64 years). While treatment for alcoholism has been sought for decades, a new research claims to use intravenous stem-cell treatment in treating alcohol addiction. In a breakthrough research published in Scientific Reports in March 2018, researchers from the University of Chile have discovered that human stem cell treatment could play a key role in curing alcoholism.
The researchers provided lab rats with both water and sweetened alcoholic drink as a daily supply for a period of up to 17 weeks. The rats were selectively bred by being given the human equivalent of one bottle of vodka along with the choice of drinking water each day during the study. After the period of binge drinking, the lab rats were deprived of any alcoholic drinks for two weeks. Some of the lab rats were then injected with human mesenchymal stem cells and were given 60 minutes to drink as much water or alcohol as they wished post their two weeks of abstinence. The stem cells were taken from human fat tissue obtained from clinical liposuction procedures.
Rats with stem cell treatment more likely to be social drinkers
According to the study researchers, rats who received the stem cell injection were found to drink 80 to 90 percent less alcohol for up to a month as compared to the rats who were not injected. They were then monitored for up to five weeks to closely analyze the effects.
According to co-author Yedy Israel, the rats with stem cell treatment were found to drink more like social drinkers than someone who is addicted. As per Israel, what led to the remarkable changes in the behavior of the subjects was the role played by stem-cell injection in reducing brain inflammation and oxidative stress caused due to chronic alcohol consumption, which in turn heighten the risk of relapse. The next step is to test the effectiveness of stem cells in treating alcoholism in humans. At present, the researchers are looking for clinical partners to transfer these studies to human subjects.
In addition to finding a possible cure for alcohol addiction, the study also found inflammation to be common in brains of animals who abused alcohol chronically. The discovery further suggested the “existence of a common mechanism of addictive drug relapse.”
Road to sobriety
Alcoholism can affect people of any age. Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) affect approximately 16 million people in the country. When left untreated, long-term alcohol abuse puts users at risk of serious medical consequences and poses a great challenge to an individuals’ physical, mental and emotional well-being.
A leading substance abuse treatment provider in the U.S., Sovereign Health offers cutting-edge treatment options and top notch care for substance use disorders in a safe, compassionate and trigger-free environment. Alcohol abuse treatment at our state-of-the-art facilities usually includes detox that is followed by therapy or counseling sessions by trained medical health professionals. To learn more about our recovery programs or to locate the finest alcohol abuse rehab centers near you, call our 24/7 helpline number and speak to our admissions counselor. You can even chat online with a representative for further assistance.