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Penn receives $12 million NIH grant to research personalized approach to smoking cessation
Date:9/7/2010

PHILADELPHIA A variety of smoking cessation treatments are currently available for the more than 18 million adult Americans try to quit smoking each year, but success rates vary widely. Despite the importance of quitting smoking, more personalized approaches to smoking cessation treatment are needed to help smokers pick the right method that will work best for them. A major new personalized medicine clinical trial, led by addiction researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, will study how a smokers' genetic make-up influences their quitting success.

A team of researchers led by Caryn Lerman, PhD, professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Annenberg Public Policy Center, has received a $12 million five-year grant to study the pharmacogenetics of nicotine addiction treatment.

"In an extension of our previous work in the Pharmacogenetics of Nicotine Addiction Treatment (PNAT) research program, we will conduct the first large prospective pharmacogenetic clinical trial of different smoking cessation medications," said Dr. Lerman, who also serves as scientific director of Penn's Abramson Cancer Center. "Smoking is the greatest preventable cause of morbidity and mortality. It is imperative to find better ways to optimize the delivery of specific treatments to increase the success rates for smokers who wish to quit."

Earlier research by the PNAT research program identified a genetically-informed biomarker that reflects individual differences in the rate of nicotine metabolism how quickly nicotine breaks down in the body. This biomarker, referred to as the nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR), reflects genetic variation in the CYP2A6 gene, as well as environmental influences on nicotine metabolism.

Work by Dr. Lerman, Robert Schnoll, PhD, associate professor of Psychiatry at Penn, and PNAT collaborators has shown that the NMR can be used to predict the success of different smoking treatment
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Contact: Kim Guenther
kim.guenther@uphs.upenn.edu
215-662-6183
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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