Researchers take steps to make pain relief drugs ‘more effective’
4 Jun 2017
Researchers at Monash University in Australia have developed a new drug delivery "strategy" designed to block pain within nerve cells.
The strategy has been heralded by the researchers as the “major development of an immediate and long lasting treatment for pain”.
Research, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, reveals how the NK-1 receptor, which is associated with both chronic and acute pain, works within the nerve cell.
A number of researchers, including Michelle Halls and Meritxell Canals from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), found that the NK-1 receptor controls pain once it is inside the cell - so drugs that block the receptor when it is on the surface of the cell "have little efficacy".
The new research shows that, in animal models, if the NK-1 receptor is blocked once it enters the nerve cell, it is possible to suppress pain more effectively.
Canals described the research as “a proof-of-concept study that shows that we can re-engineer current pain drugs and make them more effective”.
He said: “The challenge is now to translate the technology into human clinical trials. This is a complex and challenging path - but the ultimate benefits to patients with nerve pain are potentially highly significant."
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