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Approved research

Genetic and non-genetic risk factors associated with alcohol consumption

Principal Investigator: Professor Munir Pirmohamed
Approved Research ID: 15110
Approval date: December 14th 2015

Lay summary

The primary aim is to identify factors (genetic and non-genetic) associated with alcohol consumption. Current understanding of biological pathways that influence alcohol consumption is poor, and is one reason behind the limited availability of therapeutics for alcohol misusers. This project is part of a work-stream that aims to identify novel drug targets or pathways that may be suitable for new drug discovery or drug repurposing to improve the treatment of alcohol-dependent individuals, ultimately preventing progression to end-organ damage. We also aim to explore how alcohol consumption and other factors interact to contribute to end-organ disease. The harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions. Our work to understand the factors underlying levels of alcohol consumption, and the evidence this will potentially generate towards drug discovery or drug repurposing, therefore falls within UK Biobank?s general aim of ?improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses?. This project will use quantitative analysis to explore genetic variants and biological measurements collected by UK Biobank and their association with a) alcohol consumption status (teetotal vs. very heavy drinking), and b) alcohol consumption as a continuous variable. We will attempt to replicate findings in other Biobanks. Longitudinal follow-up in UK Biobank will be used to assess association between alcohol consumption and later disease development and progression and (cause of) death. We want to include all participants with alcohol consumption/status data, ranging from teetotallers to those with heavy consumption.