Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New drugs to treat chronic pain without numbing may be possible

Date:
August 17, 2010
Source:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
Researchers have made a discovery that could lead to a brand new class of drugs to treat chronic pain caused by inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and back pain without numbing the whole body.

Researchers have made a discovery that could lead to a brand new class of drugs to treat chronic pain caused by inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and back pain without numbing the whole body.

The team, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and working at UCL (University College London), have shown for the first time that genes involved in chronic pain are regulated by molecules inside cells called small RNAs. This mechanism is so different from what has already been discovered about the biology underpinning pain that it could be the Achilles heel of chronic inflammatory pain, which is notoriously difficult to treat. The research appears in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Lead researcher Professor John Wood from UCL said "When a person experiences chronic pain as a result of some sort of inflammation -- as in arthritis -- their pain threshold goes down very dramatically. What they can normally do without pain, such as walking or putting on clothes, becomes very painful.

"Chronic inflammatory pain can be treated with pain-killing drugs -- analgesics -- but these usually have an impact on the whole body and may also dull our experience of acute pain, which is actually very important as it protects us from injury. Just imagine if you didn't get a sharp pain when you accidentally touch the oven -- you wouldn't be compelled to take your hand away quickly and could end up with a serious burn.

"What we would really like to be able to do is return the pain thresholds to normal in a person who has chronic inflammatory pain, rather than just numbing the whole body. This would mean that they still get the protection of acute pain. Currently, aspirin-like drugs that can do this have a number of side effects but the present discovery might make it possible to invent a class of drugs that act in a completely novel way."

The researchers studied mice that lack an enzyme called Dicer in some of their nerve cells and found that they respond normally to acute pain but don't seem to be bothered by anything that would usually cause chronic inflammatory pain. This is because Dicer makes small RNAs, which they now know are required for regulation of genes involved in chronic inflammatory pain. Without Dicer the small RNAs aren't made and without the small RNAs many of these genes are expressed at low levels. So, for example, molecules such as sodium channels that make pain nerves responsive to inflammation are produced at low levels and therefore inflammatory pain is not detected by the mouse's body.

Professor Wood concluded "Knowing that small RNAs are so important in chronic inflammatory pain provides a new avenue for developing drugs for some of the most debilitating and life-long conditions out there. We have identified small RNAs, which are possible drug targets"


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Zhao et al. Small RNAs Control Sodium Channel Expression, Nociceptor Excitability, and Pain Thresholds. Journal of Neuroscience, 2010; 30 (32): 10860 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1980-10.2010

Cite This Page:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "New drugs to treat chronic pain without numbing may be possible." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100817103340.htm>.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. (2010, August 17). New drugs to treat chronic pain without numbing may be possible. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100817103340.htm
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "New drugs to treat chronic pain without numbing may be possible." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100817103340.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden laid out new guidelines for health care workers when dealing with the deadly Ebola virus including new precautions when taking off personal protective equipment. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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