Major funding awarded to discover new treatments for alcohol use disorder

$5million has been awarded from the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to pioneer new treatments for alcohol use disorder by improving pathways from discovery to clinical testing.

The interdisciplinary project is set to bring together a cohort of leading addiction researchers including from The Florey.

Professor Andrew Lawrence, Head of the Addiction Neuroscience Laboratory at The Florey

Professor Andrew Lawrence, Head of The Florey’s Addiction Neuroscience Laboratory is a Chief Investigator on the Synergy Grant and will co-lead its discovery science component along with colleagues at UNSW.

“This research aims to develop more effective and individually tailored treatments for alcohol addiction. Our vision to achieve this relies on strengthening links between basic and clinical researchers and bridging the translational gap from basic discovery into proof-of-concept clinical testing,” said Professor Lawrence.

“I will be working with colleagues at the Florey Institute and elsewhere to identify suitable candidates for clinical psychopharmacology studies and subsequent trials,” he added.

The overall project is led by Professor Paul Haber from the University of Sydney. The team hope the discovery of new treatments can improve health outcomes for the many Australians experiencing alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol is the most widely used drug in Australia and is the most common drug of concern for those seeking addiction treatment services. There are very few therapeutic treatment options available for alcohol use disorder and of those available, less than 10% of people diagnosed with the condition receive medication treatment.

Along with Professor Lawrence and The Florey partners from the University of Sydney, Monash University, the University of New South Wales and Turning Point will collaborate over the next 5 years to carry out the project.

“We’re incredibly excited to be part of this extraordinary interdisciplinary team who are at the forefront of alcohol research. This funding recognises the significant impact alcohol has on the community and the importance of bridging clinical and basic science to develop innovative treatment approaches that help reduce the burden of disease in Australia,” said Professor Dan Lubman AM, Executive Clinical Director at Turning Point and Director of the Monash Addiction Research Centre.

The Florey thanks the Australian Government for their continued funding of medical research and support of researchers like Professor Lawrence who work to improve the health and lives of many Australians living with unmet medical needs.