Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Effective Pain Treatment For Cancer Patients?

Date:
June 25, 2009
Source:
University Hospital Heidelberg
Summary:
Cancer patients often suffer from severe pain that cannot be effectively treated with conventional medication. Researchers have found the possible reasons for this -- tumors release two signal substances that make nerve cells especially sensitive and enhance tumor growth. In animal tests, when the researchers blocked the effect of the signal substances on the nerve cells, the sensitivity of the nerve cells and tumor growth were reduced.

Researchers have discover new approaches to the development and treatment of pain. Cancer patients often suffer from severe pain that cannot be effectively treated with conventional medication. Researchers at the Pharmacology Institute of the University of Heidelberg have found the possible reasons for this – tumors release two signal substances that make nerve cells especially sensitive and enhance tumor growth. In animal tests, when the researchers blocked the effect of the signal substances on the nerve cells, the sensitivity of the nerve cells and tumor growth were reduced.

The results of the research of the international working group headed by Professor Dr. Rohini Kuner indicate a new approach for the development of effective pain medication for cancer patients.

Tumor pain: new therapies are urgently needed

For patients, severe pain is one of the worst and most feared symptoms of cancer. The causes of the frequently extreme pain are still largely unknown. Cancer pain is frequently difficult to handle with conventional pain medication such as opioids. High dosages are required to achieve any effect at all – as a result, the side effects are immense for the patients and tolerance may quickly ensue. “There is a great need for special pain medication for cancer patients,” says pharmacologist Professor Dr. Rohini Kuner, who is especially interested in explaining the mechanisms of chronic pain.

Tumor signals make nerve cells extremely sensitive to pressure

In this research project, she and her colleagues examined tissue from mice to determine what signal substances were released by tumors. They discovered two molecules that were previously known only as growth factors for blood-forming stem cells. Contact with these molecules made nerve cells in the vicinity of the cancer tissue considerably more sensitive to pressure, as the researchers demonstrated by testing nerve activity with electrodes. “The findings are consistent with descriptions of cancer patients who say that merely touching the affected area is painful,” explained Professor Dr. Kuner.

But not just touching, even tumor growth itself causes pain, for the expanding tissue also exerts pressure. The cancer cells apparently use the growth factors for their own growth and spread through the nerve pathways and blood vessels to the rest of the organism.

An injection against tumor pain?

The discovery made in Heidelberg opens up new prospects in the fight against cancer pain – in the next step, the researchers injected proteins (antibodies) that block the contact sites for cancer signal substances on the nerve cells. Indeed, the sensitivity of nerve cells and tumor growth were reduced.

Further research must now show whether this use is also possible in human tissue. If so, it would be conceivable to inject these “protein blockers” directly into the tumor and thus reduce pain and side effects for the patient.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Hospital Heidelberg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Schweizerhof et al. Hematopoietic colony–stimulating factors mediate tumor-nerve interactions and bone cancer pain. Nature Medicine, 2009; DOI: 10.1038/nm.1976

Cite This Page:

University Hospital Heidelberg. "Effective Pain Treatment For Cancer Patients?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090625100347.htm>.
University Hospital Heidelberg. (2009, June 25). Effective Pain Treatment For Cancer Patients?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090625100347.htm
University Hospital Heidelberg. "Effective Pain Treatment For Cancer Patients?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090625100347.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins