ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — A new local study finds the same gene variations that make it difficult to stop smoking also increase the likelihood that heavy smokers will respond to nicotine-replacement therapy and drugs that stop the cravings.

Senior researcher, Laura Bierut at Washington University School of Medicine, says this study suggests it may one day be possible to predict which patients are most likely to benefit from drug treatments for nicotine addiction.

Bierut found that those with the high risk gene variants were 3 times more likely to respond to the medication therapies that helped them quit. That finding means that someday soon it may be possible to tailor drug therapy to patients who are the most likely to respond.

“This is one of the first pieces of the puzzle , and now we can start to build on it,” said Bierut.

She also acknowledges that genes aren’t the only factors that keep people from kicking the habit. Environment plays another very important roll.


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