People born with a rare genetic mutation are unable to feel pain, but previous attempts to recreate this effect with drugs have had surprisingly little success. Using mice modified to carry the same mutation, UCL researchers funded by the MRC and Wellcome Trust have now discovered the recipe for painlessness.
‘Channels’ that allow messages to pass along nerve cell membranes are vital for electrical signalling in the nervous system. In 2006, it was shown that sodium channel Nav1.7 is particularly important for signalling in pain pathways and people born with non-functioning Nav1.7 do not feel pain. Drugs that block Nav1.7 have since been developed but they had disappointingly weak effects.
The new study, published in Nature Communications, reveals that mice and people who lack Nav1.7 also produce higher than normal levels of natural opioid peptides.
To examine if opioids were important for painlessness, the researchers gave naloxone, an opioid blocker, to mice lacking Nav1.7 and found that they became able to feel pain. They then gave naloxone to a 39-year-old woman with the rare mutation and she felt pain for the first time in her life.
“After a decade of rather disappointing drug trials, we now have confirmation that Nav1.7 really is a key element in human pain,” says senior author Professor John Wood (UCL Medicine). “The secret ingredient turned out to be good old-fashioned opioid peptides, and we have now filed a patent for combining low dose opioids with Nav1.7 blockers. This should replicate the painlessness experienced by people with rare mutations, and we have already successfully tested this approach in unmodified mice.”
Broad-spectrum sodium channel blockers are used as local anaesthetics, but they are not suitable for long-term pain management as they cause complete numbness and can have serious side-effects over time. By contrast, people born without working Nav1.7 still feel non-painful touch normally and the only known side-effect is the inability to smell.
Opioid painkillers such as morphine are highly effective at reducing pain, but long-term use can lead to dependence and tolerance. As the body becomes used to the drug it becomes less effective so higher doses are needed for the same effect, side effects become more severe, and eventually it stops working altogether.
“Used in combination with Nav1.7 blockers, the dose of opioid needed to prevent pain is very low,” explains Professor Wood. “People with non-functioning Nav1.7 produce low levels of opioids throughout their lives without developing tolerance or experiencing unpleasant side-effects. We hope to see our approach tested in human trials by 2017 and we can then start looking into drug combinations to help the millions of chronic pain patients around the world.”
Read more: GM mice reveal the secret to a painless life
The Latest on: Pain relief
via Google News
The Latest on: Pain relief
- Heron Therapeutics Resubmits New Drug Application to FDA for HTX-011 for the Treatment of Postoperative Painon November 13, 2020 at 4:30 am
PRNewswire/ -- (Nasdaq: HRTX), a commercial-stage biotechnology company focused on improving the lives of patients by developing best-in-class treatments to address some ...
- Doctors Explain How to Finally Get Rid of That Throbbing Lower Back Pain for Goodon November 12, 2020 at 6:39 pm
I've had neck and shoulder pain for as long as I can remember. For years, I’ve understood it’s where I tend to hold all my stress, as soreness would often flare up around big deadlines or daunting ...
- Bioventus to Provide CVS Caremark® with its Portfolio of Preferred Options for Knee Osteoarthritis Patients Seeking Pain Reliefon November 10, 2020 at 7:01 am
Bioventus, a global leader in Innovations For Active Healing, will gain preferred access through the CVS Caremark Formulary, to DUROLANE®, GELSYN-3® and SUPARTZ FX®, for the treatment of knee ...
- Mind Body Matrix Pain Cream Reviews – Does This Pain Relief Cream Really Works?on November 7, 2020 at 12:03 am
You have to have control over your body and mind to manage your pain effectively. Mind-Body Matrixis a natural blend of several fine plant extracts and potent essential oils to provide you relief from ...
- Best CBD Oil For Pain Relief: 7 Top Rated CBD Oil Product Reviews 2020on November 6, 2020 at 10:09 am
- Global Neuropathy Pain Treatment Market- Featuring Abbot Laboratories, Assertio Therapeutics Inc., AstraZeneca Plc, and Baxter International Inc. Among Others | Technavioon November 6, 2020 at 7:00 am
Technavio has announced its latest market research report titled Global Neuropathy Pain Treatment Market 2020-2024 (Graphic: Business Wire) LONDON-- ( BUSINESS WIRE )--The neuropathy pain treatment ...
- US Topical Pain Relief Market Industry Analysis | Key Strategies, Demand, Size, Share and Regional Trends by Forecast to 2025on November 4, 2020 at 8:44 pm
Nov 05, 2020 (Heraldkeepers) -- A research report on Topical Pain Relief Market features a succinct analysis on the latest market trends. The report also includes detailed abstracts about ...
- The Newest—and Easiest—Solution for Pain Reliefon November 3, 2020 at 10:51 am
Nufabrx, a wellness brand backed by various medical experts, boasts a product line that provides effective and inexpensive pain relief products (among other exciting items!)—and we’re impressed.
- Grokker Presents Pain Relief with Dr. Kevin Fongon November 3, 2020 at 4:09 am
Wellbeing Engagement Solution Launches New Program for Musculoskeletal HealthSAN JOSE, Calif., Nov. 03, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Grokker, the on-demand wellbeing engagement solution, today announced ...
via Bing News