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An Iowa City-based company has been awarded more than $1 million in grant funds to expand development of a new alcohol detection test based on DNA.
According to a Wednesday news release, Behavioral Diagnostics, Inc., has received a $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Those funds will help the company complete the initial commercialization of a genetic test for the detection of heavy alcohol consumption.
BDI's DNA-based tests cannot be obscured by any known means and should allow for a better way to detect and treat alcoholism, according to the release.
Tracy Gunter, a collaborator on the project, spoke to the value of such research in the release.
'A reliable objective measure of the biologically meaningful dose of substance use could revolutionize how we conceptualize and manage substance use disorders. It could also provide a means for monitoring the recovery process and intervening in early relapse rather than waiting for the person's life to become out of control. In the current world, individuals with substance use disorders face their own denial and the biases of others when seeking treatment,” Gunter said in the release.
BDI is an Iowa City-based biotechnology company founded in 2009 by Robert Philibert, a professor of psychiatry and biomedical engineering at the University of Iowa. The company focuses on the development of DNA-based genetic biomarkers for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of substance use and related illnesses such as depression.
The alcohol detection test is scheduled to be ready for civil and forensic use in the fall of 2017.