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Alcoholism Vaccine Makes Alcohol Intolerable To Drinkers

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the spike-the-punch-with-it dept.

Medicine 350

Hugh Pickens writes "Ariel Schwartz reports that researchers are working on an alcoholism vaccine that makes alcohol intolerable to anyone who drinks it. The vaccine builds on what happens naturally in certain people — about 20% of the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean population — with an alcohol intolerance mutation. Normally, the liver breaks down alcohol into an enzyme that's transformed into the compound acetaldehyde (responsible for that nasty hangover feeling), which in turn is degraded into another enzyme. The acetaldehyde doesn't usually have time to build up before it's broken down. But people with the alcohol intolerance mutation lack the ability to produce that second enzyme; acetaldehyde accumulates, and they feel terrible. Dr. Juan Asenjo and his colleagues have come up with a way to stop the synthesis of that second enzyme via a vaccine, mimicking the mutation that sometimes happens naturally. 'People have this mutation all over the world. It's like how some people can't drink milk,' says Asenjo. Addressing the physiological part of alcohol addiction is just one piece of the battle. Addictive tendencies could very well manifest in other ways; instead of alcohol, perhaps former addicts will move on to cigarettes. Asenjo admits as much: 'Addiction is a psychological disease, a social disease. Obviously this is only the biological part of it.'"

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350 comments

I'll take a shot... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42913779)

Wait, no alcohol? Shot as in vaccine? Fuck that.

REverse this!!! (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#42913877)

Ok..talk about a GREAT $$$$ making endeavour!!

Make another vaccine (or possibly something in pill form), that increases that second enzyme, and makes hangovers less and less painful!!

I never knew what a hangover was till I was in my mid-30's...then BAM....

Now, sure I can still drink quite a bit....not even getting very drunk at times, but man, I pay for it for 2+ days now at times.

:(

If this is what happened to me....I'd pay a TON of money to be able to regenerate that 2nd enzyme production to lower the acetaldehyde (sp?) and lower the hangover pain.

Drinking is fun for those that can handle their booze....if you could get rid of the hangover, it would be great for those that still like to party a bit.

Re:REverse this!!! (1)

crashumbc (1221174) | about a year ago | (#42914395)

Agreed! My tolerance is what it used to be but still decent...

That HANGOVERS though... They could kill a person

Re:REverse this!!! (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42914533)

PLEASE TAKE MY MONEY!

*Throws money at screen*

That is what they should be trying to do.

Re:REverse this!!! (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#42914657)

> Make another vaccine (or possibly something in pill form), that increases that second enzyme, and makes hangovers less and less painful!!

Hell, just add it to the drink.

Re:I'll take a shot... (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#42913917)

Yea they need to be working it in reverse, make a vaccine to prevent hangovers.
They wouldn't even need scientific grants, the liquor industry alone would be happy to foot the bill.

Re:I'll take a shot... (3, Informative)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#42914343)

A completely natural vaccine to prevent hangovers already exists. It's called water. After a long night of drinking enough booze that you know you'll end up with a hangover, go to sleep with a glass or bottle of water by your side. Most of the effects--especially the nastier ones--of a hangover are actually the effects of dehydration. You can drastically reduce its effects or even prevent having one completely by drinking enough water throughout the night. Depending on how much you drank and how dehydrated you get, having multiple bottles at easy reach can be more convenient.

Re:I'll take a shot... (4, Interesting)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#42914479)

Just FYI a quick trip to Wiki might educate you on that. Don't assume stuff and pass it off as scientific fact.
It's not been conclusively shown it is dehydration. It is but one of several leading theories:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangover [wikipedia.org]

> Hypoglycemia, dehydration, acetaldehyde intoxication, and glutamine rebound are all theorized causes of hangover symptoms.

You can read more in the cited sources of the article.

Re:I'll take a shot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914679)

>>Don't assume stuff and pass it off as scientific fact.

And everything on wikipedia is scientific fact?

Re:I'll take a shot... (4, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year ago | (#42914699)

Most of the actual works I've seen (which are more reliable than wikipedia) have said that hangovers symptoms have been demonstrated to be linked to several of those factors, but that dehydration is by far the most significant overall (though others may be more significant in particular individuals, depending on individual sensitivities and other conditions.)

Re:I'll take a shot... (4, Informative)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year ago | (#42914537)

As someone who used to have hangovers quite frequently in his younger days, I can assure you that they're more than dehydration. I drank plenty of water and fluids (both before and fact the fact) and still felt like ass the next day.

Underestimating (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42913781)

What needing a drink is really like...

Re:Underestimating (2)

evilbessie (873633) | about a year ago | (#42914327)

Hmm, if you suffered from it you would probably think differently. Trust me.

Re:Underestimating (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914617)

From what? The vaccine? Have you had it?

Scary idea (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42913785)

This is one vaccine some people would want to avoid. Imagine a winelover accidentally getting stuck with one and having their passion ruined for life.

Re:Scary idea (2)

green1 (322787) | about a year ago | (#42914061)

I seriously doubt there is a widespread problem with anyone getting any vaccines accidentally.

Re:Scary idea (2)

jimbolauski (882977) | about a year ago | (#42914249)

That's how I got my last tetanus vaccination, I stepped on a rusty nail and a syringe with the vaccination.

Re:Scary idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914361)

What would happen if you step on a rusty syringe with the vaccination?

Re:Scary idea (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#42914297)

Without vigilance, there might be a widespread problem with people getting these vaccines against their will.

Re:Scary idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914319)

Do you often get flu shots by accident? How the fuck does it ever happen?

In other news... (1, Troll)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year ago | (#42913787)

Stocks in Irish, Scottish, and Russian companies unexpectedly soar.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42913919)

Scots aren't chronic alcoholics ... we can't afford it.

Doubtful (1)

OffTheLip (636691) | about a year ago | (#42913807)

Most people despised their first taste of alcohol but many came back for seconds. Like most things, it depends.

Re:Doubtful (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year ago | (#42913851)

Does anyone really drink alcohol for the taste? Take the effect away and most drinks are a lot like drinking piss with a mediciney aftertaste.

Re:Doubtful (3, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#42913935)

Does anyone really drink alcohol for the taste? Take the effect away and most drinks are a lot like drinking piss with a mediciney aftertaste.

Actually...yes many of us like the taste.

When I was a little kid and I had my first taste of beer, I LOVED it.

I love the taste of fine wines...great with meals. I love a good, single malt scotch, with maybe a splash of water or a couple ice cubes (ok purists, bite me, I like it chilled a bit).

I like mixed drinks...I like the bitter tastes of a gin and tonic with fresh lime on a hot summer afternoon, I like a real daquiri (not that fucking over fruited strawberry frozen shit)....I like a good mojito.

Yes, many of us do enjoy alcohol's flavor in its various forms and mixed with things. The fact that it makes you feel great is definitely a plus.

Re:Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914127)

For what its worth, if you want chilled scotch without the water they make things called "whisky stones." We picked some up at Target recently. You put the stones in the freezer and use like ice cubes.

Re:Doubtful (3, Informative)

Altus (1034) | about a year ago | (#42914443)

While the stones are great because they don't add some arbitrary amount of water, I do like a few drops in my scotch to open up the flavors a bit. This is particularly true with overproof scotches.

For a lark, take a shot of water and add a few drops of scotch. I find that i can pick up on many flavors that get lost in the overall intensity of the drink. Also its like homeopathy for drinkers :-)

Re:Doubtful (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#42913947)

I assume they do, why else would you order the expansive brand at a bar over the cheap shit? Especially if being mixed.

Re:Doubtful (1)

mrbester (200927) | about a year ago | (#42914369)

Old joke: when asked if he wanted water in his whisky, the old sot barked "Water?! Fish fuck in water!"

Re:Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42913961)

Anyone? Most humans enjoy the taste of at least one kind of alcoholic beverage. It's fairly common.

Re:Doubtful (2)

neminem (561346) | about a year ago | (#42914011)

There is booze that I would only drink if I wanted to get drunk, but there is definitely also booze that I would drink even if it was entirely nonalcoholic. You don't buy good scotch for the booze, you buy good scotch because it's good scotch.

Re:Doubtful (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year ago | (#42914097)

Does anyone really drink alcohol for the taste? Take the effect away and most drinks are a lot like drinking piss with a mediciney aftertaste.

Some alcoholic drinks are delicious. I happen to really really enjoy the taste of Guinness. Lots of fruity mixed drinks are fantastic. That said, I haven't had either in a while. In related news; it's Friday!

Re:Doubtful (taste) (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year ago | (#42914523)

Actually, I tend to drink for the taste. I prefer Ice Cider, a good red wine with meat, a nice Gewurztraminer with salads, and various mixed drinks.

Don't like most beers, gin, whiskey, but there are some decent rums.

Re:Doubtful (2)

Glothar (53068) | about a year ago | (#42914213)

Dude, stop drinking the cheapest crap you can find.

News flash: It tastes like crap.

Good wine is very tasty. Microbrew beers (assuming you're from the US, considering you equate beer with piss) can be quite good.Tequila that you don't have to crawl on the floor to buy can be fairly smooth and good for flavoring meat. Vodka that doesn't come in a plastic bottle is more likely to have a clean, crisp flavor. I will often have wine/beer with a meal because it makes everything taste better. Of course, that requires that you not shop for the cheapest swill that some convenience store is willing to sell you. This shouldn't be shocking: Really cheap meat is crap. Cheap cheese isn't even cheese. Cheap bread has no flavor. Cheap fruit is often bland and far from ripe.

Of course, that lesson isn't likely to make a difference. People buying cheap alcohol are usually alcoholics, college students, idiots, or some permutation of the three.

Re:Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914569)

Does anyone really drink alcohol for the taste?

I like the taste of normal beer. Non-alcoholic beer tastes terrible. If you managed to take the physiological effect away or reduce it but keep the taste the same, many people will elevate you to godhood.

Re:Doubtful (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914579)

Does anyone really drink alcohol for the taste? Take the effect away and most drinks are a lot like drinking piss with a mediciney aftertaste.

I'm with you, man. The worst kind of drink I can think of is a cask-aged Belgian monestary trippel served with an apple, a block of cheese, and a hunk of bread fresh out of some stupid oven. Yuck!

Does anyone really listen to music for the sound? Take the dancing people and the lights away, and most music is just annoying noise.

Does anyone really look at paintings for the visuals? Take the frame and the museum away, and most paintings are just blotches of pigment on canvas.

Does anyone really read books for the stories? Take the paper and binding away, and most books are just a bunch of words in too small a font (which are getting smaller and smaller every year, by the way).

Yeah, pretty much all of our senses and all of the "pleasurable" reactions that are brains fool us into thinking we're having are such a load of crap. Kind of makes you wonder: What's the point anyway? I mean, could this sunset even be any more orange? Pffft.

Re:Doubtful (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#42914597)

You're drinking bad hooch then. There are actually GOOD tasting drinks out there, not all of them expensive.

It's also worth noting that tastes change as we age.

Re:Doubtful (2)

quantaman (517394) | about a year ago | (#42913957)

They come to like the taste because they associate it with the feelings that come after.

This would change the feelings that happens after drastically, I think it could be extremely effective.

Re:Doubtful (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#42914009)

They come to like the taste because they associate it with the feelings that come after.

Not necessarily. I tasted my first beer, I think at about age 12 or so, and I liked it the very first sip I had, and I had NO idea what the feelings would be...I didn't have enough to get buzzed, but I sure know I liked the taste of beer!

I still do to this day....hell, nowdays, I brew my own!!

Re:Doubtful (1)

sdsucks (1161899) | about a year ago | (#42914141)

Disliking the taste doesn't really equate to "feeling terrible", which is what thus purportedly would do.

Professour Tournesol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42913825)

Tintin and the Picaros anyone?

This is news? (5, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42913839)

Seriously? This is news?

The EXACT SAME effect can be produced by feeding people shaggy mane mushrooms, (which are perfectly edible) due to the presence of a substance called Coprine.

Coprine acts similarly to a well known medicinal substance called Disulfriram" [wikipedia.org] that has been used to treat alcoholism via this mechanism for nearly 100 years!

So, what you are telling me is that this doctor has essentially re-invented the wheel, and that this is news?

Re:This is news? (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#42913931)

As a medicine, continuing treatment with ant-abuse is voluntary. As a vaccine, it's a life altering event.

I'd be interested to see the first DUI case where a judge says "six months in the workhouse OR the vaccine."

Re:This is news? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#42913987)

I'd be interested to see the first DUI case where a judge says "six months in the workhouse OR the vaccine."

Well, first of all, get yourself a better lawyer...especially for first offense, you should likely get out of it with maybe probation.

But if it came down to that...I'd take the 6 months.

Re:This is news? (5, Interesting)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#42914549)

I just said I'd like to see it, not participate! I think it will make for some interesting ethics discussions.

Imagine a drunk driver convicted of vehicular homicide being involuntarily sentenced to receive the vaccine. Is that ethical? Ask the victim's family if it's ethical to release him from prison without the vaccine?

Re:This is news? (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year ago | (#42914315)

Seriously? This is news?

The EXACT SAME effect can be produced by feeding people shaggy mane mushrooms, (which are perfectly edible) due to the presence of a substance called Coprine.

Coprine acts similarly to a well known medicinal substance called Disulfriram" [wikipedia.org] that has been used to treat alcoholism via this mechanism for nearly 100 years!

So, what you are telling me is that this doctor has essentially re-invented the wheel, and that this is news?

If you read the article you linked (I just did - having not heard of it before) the most important part of this new product is that it's a (permanent?) vaccine rather than a pill. In studies cited by that Wikipedia article, Disulfriram was not effective primarily due to poor compliance by the patient- they stopped taking the pills so they could have a drink (basically). With a vaccine, the patient does not have the ability to stop and have a drink. I think that's a significant and worthwhile improvement.

It reminds me of lap-band, or other weight loss surgery. Those surgeries punish the patient for poor diet compliance by causing nausea and vomiting. They do have a feature that this does not in that they also reward patient compliance (in the form of the patient feeling fuller longer with less food).

Re:This is news? (1)

lbmouse (473316) | about a year ago | (#42914483)

I think the major issue with Disulfriram (as even mentioned in wikipedia) is compliance. A vaccine removes that hurdle.

amazing transformation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42913849)

"Normally, the liver breaks down alcohol into an enzyme"

wow, I didn't know EtOH could be broken down into a multi-kilodalton protein! That's some fine science writin' there, Lou.

Re:amazing transformation (1)

mug funky (910186) | about a year ago | (#42914129)

yes. i was a tad confused about whether the writer actually meant "metabolite" whenever they said "enzyme".

whole thing sounds a bit clockwork orange to me.

Re:amazing transformation (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | about a year ago | (#42914307)

I was also highly confused. Science literacy is important: we live in the 21st century, people. Please don't make basic errors like that! It only feeds misantropy in the rest of us.

Another Options for Those that want to stop (1)

KnightMB (823876) | about a year ago | (#42913855)

I can see this is a good option for those that really want to stop drinking. But.... drinking is a twisted cocktail of the poison alcohol and the feelings that go with it (or lack of perhaps, the numbing) that keep people drinking. So this may be the push that people trying to quit need. If the just the drinking makes you feel sick enough to not want to drink anymore, more power to them! It may not be a perfect solution for those trying to stop, but at least it is another option. I just hope the vaccine itself is not so expensive as to make it only available to the wealthy to use.

Plus 4, troll) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42913883)

But now they're aal; in order to go Bad for *BSD. As project returns

That's no vaccine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42913887)

That's a nightmare!

- an Irishman

Vaccine? (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#42913893)

I don't think they understand what a "vaccine" is. Can we (especially the media) stop throwing that word around for everything? A vaccine immunizes you against a disease, by getting the body to produce antibodies.

Re:Vaccine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914229)

Idiots have gotten "Alcoholism" classified as a disease, so technically a treatment that immunizes you against alcoholism would be a vaccine in the "one time immunization to a disease" sense.

At least in the common vernacular. In medical terminology vaccines likely do refer strictly to immunization against virii.

Re:Vaccine? (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#42914651)

I don't think they understand what a "vaccine" is. Can we (especially the media) stop throwing that word around for everything? A vaccine immunizes you against a disease, by getting the body to produce antibodies.

Why stop there? Real vaccinations are only to prevent smallpox (and come from cows). You're thinking "inoculation".

Just What the Criminal Justice System Ordered (4, Informative)

zifferent (656342) | about a year ago | (#42913913)

If this works. Expect to see people get court-ordered to get an injection after alcohol-related offenses. The CJ will do anything and everything in their power to make the criminal's life unbearable, rob them of the self-esteem, and keep them in the system.

Re:Just What the Criminal Justice System Ordered (4, Interesting)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year ago | (#42914439)

Better an injection that lasts 6 months and can teach a person self control in the mean time than a sentence to a cult-like organization that convinces you that you're destined to die unless you attend their fruity little club until the end of your life. AA's success rate is no better than the spontaneous rate of remission (doing nothing at all). Yet it's worshiped as a solution because A: it's free and B: proselytization is part of the program. Popularity != quality. Fucking cancerous boil of a religion on the ass of science. Thank god for scientific solutions like this that can finally put the nail the the quackery coffin, but you can bet your ass twelve steppers and their ilk will be out in (often anonymous) force, trying to get this banned or at least lobbying against it's use.

Stupid (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year ago | (#42913925)

We created alcohol in part because it was the only way to store the energy in grains for human consumption over long ranges of time where the grains would have otherwise rotted. Beer was supposedly invented in Egypt precisely for this. That it had entertainment or recreational value was secondary back then.

Now someone makes a 'vaccine' that reduces the human body's ability to process one kind of energy source we have. This is an evolutionary step backwards.

The Antidote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42913933)

Is a carne asada burrito vaccine. Side effects include wanting to lay on the couch and increased nostalgia for 80's movies.

Typo in summary (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#42913955)

The line

which in turn is degraded into another enzyme

Should say

which in turn is degraded by another enzyme

It makes no sense for a product of alcohol degradation to become an enzyme on it's own.

How about the reverse? (1)

neminem (561346) | about a year ago | (#42913971)

If you came up with something that would basically give you a super-hangover from alcohol, by blocking the breakdown of a chemical responsible for hangovers... it seems to reason you could also figure out how to cause faster breakdown of the same chemical. If it was really mostly responsible for hangovers, it seems like that would make billions of dollars as the first truly reliable hangover preventative. I know I'd buy it (if there weren't other worse side effects).

Meanwhile, I can't imagine many alcoholics would care. They'd just *drink more* to counteract the effects of the hangover. You know, like they already do?

The only people who will be opposed (2, Funny)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year ago | (#42913995)

Will be 12 stepping fanatics who think that the only way to get over an addiction / bad habit is through their fucked up religion.

Such resentment! (0)

kawabago (551139) | about a year ago | (#42914551)

You must be still suffering. There is no way to 'get over' an addiction. You can only stop imbibing, you will always be an addict. The 12 step program uses peoples existing religious beliefs, it proposes no new concept of God or belief. A 12 step program asks only that you admit you are powerless over your addiction and only a power greater than yourself can help you overcome it. There is no definition of what that greater power is, some people use God, some atheists find whatever concept works for them, but they all use the same 12 step program and it is the only thing that has been found to work so far. No I don't have any addictions and I'm not in a 12 step program.

How much to buy one and prank inject someone? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a year ago | (#42913997)

Question, which do you see happening first:

1) Parents paying to inject their high school kids without asking what the kids think about it.

2) High school and college kids pranking each other by injecting their ex-'friends' with it.

Re:How much to buy one and prank inject someone? (3, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42914283)

easier to dose them with a mushroom pizza, made with shaggy mane mushrooms. Same effect, less permanent.

Mushroom ingestion disrupts enzyme activity for up to 3 weeks.

Hilariously, shaggy mane mushrooms frequently grow on lawns, and are easily identifiable. [wikipedia.org] There is a reasonably good chance you can find them simply growing on the campus quad, if you live in the northern hemisphere.

Sadly, due to the nature of the mushroom, it decomposes rapidly after being picked, so only fresh mushroom could be used for this purpose. In terms of taste and texture, it is similar to crimini, though has a different appearance when sliced. Disguising the mushroom in a saute' will not adversely effect the action of the coprine (active agent present in the mushroom) and will enable one to better deliver the joke mushroom to one's peers.

Horrible summary (5, Informative)

TheWingThing (686802) | about a year ago | (#42914015)

This is one of the most horrible and stupidest summaries I've read in a long time. Enzymes are biochemical catalysts. Ethanol and acetaldehyde are substrates. The substrates get converted into end products with the help of enzymes and energy. Ethanol does not get converted *into* an enzyme known as acetaldehyde. Ethanol gets converted to acetaldehyde by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, through the loss of one hydrogen atom. In the next step, acetaldehyde gets converted into acetic acid (same thing as in vinegar) by the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase through the loss of another hydrogen atom. Acetaldehyde a lot more toxic than acetic acid. If you block the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (which lacks naturally in a minority of East Asians), there will be an accumulation of excess acetaldehyde, causing very noxious symptoms. This is exactly what drugs like disulfiram ("antabuse") do. What a badly written summary. Both the submitter and the editor need to read some biochemistry or learn to use google before posting rubbish.

Re:Horrible summary (1)

TheWingThing (686802) | about a year ago | (#42914059)

...Ethanol gets converted to acetaldehyde by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, through the loss of one hydrogen atom. ...

"by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase" - remove duplication. It's just "by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase". Aarghh!

Won't work (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#42914155)

I know someone who has this alcohol intolerance. She still drinks, in spite of the rotten feeling afterwords.

In some cases, alcoholism is about social and psychological dependence. Not the buzz from the chemistry. If people drink because they need it to fit in to a crowd, getting sick won't stop that.

Re:Won't work (1)

tom229 (1640685) | about a year ago | (#42914507)

My thoughts exactly. How are worse hangovers supposed to stop alcoholics? AFAIK, prolonged alcohol abuse already can create this enzyme breaking down problem giving alcohol abusers worse hangovers anyways.

There is also a Genetic Basis For Nicotine (4, Interesting)

kramer2718 (598033) | about a year ago | (#42914161)

There is also a genetic basis for nicotine tolerance. The mechanism is essentially the same. There is an gene that codes for an enzyme which removes nicotine from the bloodstream. This gene has several different alleles that code for more or less effective versions of the same enzyme. Individuals who have the allele that codes for the most effective enzyme are heavy smokers if they smoke. They smoke a cigarette, receive the desired stimulation, and then the enzyme clears the nicotine. Thus they desire another dose soon afterward. Individuals who produce the least effective version of the enzyme get sick when they smoke. The enzyme fails to clear the toxin in a reasonable time and they feel ill, sometimes vomiting. Individuals producing middling effective versions can be occasional smokers. Read more here [soton.ac.uk].

If researchers can create a treatment for alcohol in this way, they can probably create a smoking treatment as well. It is unlikely, though, that the treatment would alleviate withdrawal symptoms on its own. This approach likely will lead to treatments for other addiction problems also.

If there come sto exist effective treatments for illegal drugs, there will be serious socio-political implications. The rational for the the war on drugs will be completely destroyed. If people can choose effective treatment, then there will be no unwilling chemical dependence. This will decrease crime, health problems, and other negative effects of dangerous drugs. So there will be no basis for illegality. Will that change the politics surrounding drugs? I don't think so.

Hangovers don't stop a lot of drinkers. (3, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | about a year ago | (#42914193)

When I was in the military, there were some guys that came to work 3 or 4 times a week (almost every week) with hangovers.
I'm not not talking about the "I'm a little queasy, give me an asprin" kind of hangovers, but rather the "shhhh, you're breathing too loud" kind of hangovers.

Sure, there are some people who will stop, but there are too many that won't.
Now if it caused illness fast enough they haven't even finished their beer, then it might have an effect. Of course, those drugs already exist and are in use.
Also, it has been proven, they don't solve alcoholism, but they do help in it's treatment.

Re:Hangovers don't stop a lot of drinkers. (1)

pavon (30274) | about a year ago | (#42914371)

Exactly, this treatment does nothing to address the biological factors that make alcohol addictive. Instead it just makes it even more unhealthy by eliminating our natural ability process the toxins created when alcohol is consumed. Stupid approach.

Way to drag down your credibility, doc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914201)

. 'People have this mutation all over the world. It's like how some people can't drink milk,' says Asenjo.

Uh, except it's not like that... inability to tolerate milk can be from several distinct causes, and most cases are unrelated to any human mutations.

Most of the time, it's a gut bacteria issue, and can be "cured" with kefir and yoghurt and probiotics. Sometimes the "cure" has to be maintained because of an inability to maintain a stable population of lactophilic bacteria in the gut, but sometimes it's one-shot and done.

Sometimes, it's an allergy, and attempting the yoghurt cure can be extremely painful and unproductive (potentially fatal, although I've never heard of that actually happening).

And yeah, sometimes it's a mutation. That's the least common reason for inability to digest milk. So you sound like a quack, doc.

Where will they go for their high (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#42914223)

Except that in most cases are these addicts not just addicted to being high and they happen to choose alcohol because it is free and cheap?

Is it not exceedingly likely that if we inoculated every drunk with this today that in a week 80% of them would be crack addicts or similarly worse off?

Re:Where will they go for their high (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year ago | (#42914473)

Where? Hmm. How about BC, WA, CO, or CA?

You guys live in your right wing nanny state if you want. We're Free in the West.

injested chemicals get broken down to enzymes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914265)

Obviously not someone who ever looked at Biochem or even basic physiology.

Huzzah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914317)

A cure to alcohol addiction?

I'll drink to that!

Biochemistry failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914337)

How exactly does alcohol break down into an enzyme? I think you mean that alcohol is broken down into acetaldehyde by an enzyme, and the acetaldehyde is broken down by another enzyme.

Tag: whereisthefuckingpaper (1)

Guppy (12314) | about a year ago | (#42914347)

Closest thing I've been able to find thus far is this paper from 2010: Viral vectors for the treatment of alcoholism: Use of metabolic flux analysis for cell cultivation and vector production [uchile.cl]

The article didn't make too much sense at first, as human acetaldhyde dehydrogenases are located either in the cytosol or mitochondria; vaccine-stimulated antibodies would not be expected to be able to block the enzyme's activity. A gene-therapy agent would be able to accomplish the task, however.

My wife has this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914457)

My wife has natural alcohol intolerance. She can't even stand the smell of it. Kind of annoying that I can't get her drunk!

Thank god some of us live in WA BC CO or CA (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year ago | (#42914461)

It's a good thing some of us live in states or provinces where we have other choices, besides alcohol.

I already find alcohol intolerable (0, Troll)

tylersoze (789256) | about a year ago | (#42914621)

I mean, I can't stand the taste, how do you people even drink this stuff? The only way I can drink an alcoholic beverage is if it's watered so completely I can't even taste it. Not to mention I don't even understand the appeal, I have no desire to have my mental functions impaired in any way whatsoever, and I find *drinkers* of alcohol intolerable as well. I can understand drugs that might be mind expanding, like LSD or mushrooms or whatever, but this blacking out drunk, acting obnoxious, and waking up with a hangover I just don't get.

Re:I already find alcohol intolerable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914661)

but this blacking out drunk, acting obnoxious, and waking up with a hangover I just don't get

Congrats, you just described a small minority of people who drink alcohol.

That's nothing new. (4, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | about a year ago | (#42914633)

A product called "Budweiser" has been making tiny amounts of alcohol intolerable to drinkers for years.

The Twilight Zone is years ahead of this concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42914635)

The Hellgrammite Method

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KFASt7gDM4

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