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Dominion scientific adviser honored for work in genetics

April 22, 2014
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Kenneth Blum, PhD, president and CEO of IGENE, LLC, and chief scientific adviser to national laboratory Dominion Diagnostics, was honored at this month's American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Medical-Scientific Conference for a research abstract on the genetic factors that could predispose an individual to substance use problems.

Blum, who in 2005 received the first patent for the Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARS) test, last moth entered into an agreement under which Dominion will co-develop and market the genetic risk testing, which is designed to assist in the understanding of gene-influenced “reward deficiency syndrome” that is believed to lead some individuals to turn to harmful levels of substance use.

Blum this month received ASAM's Medical-Scientific Program Committee Award for best scientific abstract in the area of drug testing, medication management or biomarkers. His abstract was titled “Clinical Integration of Innovative Genetic Risk/Medical Monitoring in Reward Deficiency Syndrome.”

He stated, “The integration of GARS as a treatment tool will offer enormous clinical benefit, including the reduction of patient denial and guilt, the ability to counsel and stratify medication response by genotype, opportunities to reduce harm, and a better understanding of polymorphic reward deficiencies and their effect on treatment. Used hand in hand with objective diagnostics like drug testing, GARS will provide new information that will result in more positive clinical interactions and improved treatment outcomes.”

Blum's abstract also summarized new research related to patient compliance to prescribed treatment medication and avoidance of drugs of abuse during treatment.

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My work with Dr.Blum and Dr.Trachtenberg during the late 1980's and early 1990's led us all to believe that this would be a very long and involved process. We also agreed that we were on the right track and that very likely we were looking at more than one genetic factor. Time has substantiated this . I have used the genetic predisposition to addictions in continuing development of the New Concept Science Based Addictions Treatment Model that was initiated in 1983 and has promoted an in-depth,current science base to this day. I have expanded on the suggested use of neuronutrients as a very powerful support for certain areas of neurobiopsychosocial health during the recovery process. My current area of focused interest involves how epigenetics can be factored into the genetic functions. Naturally, there is much more involved in the New Concept Model, however the basis rests on the genetic/epigenetic underpinnings of the addictive process in development. I still hold to my belief that 2020 t0 2025 will see the major portion of genetics/epigenetics and the neurosciences come into the major developments in the cures.

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