Researchers at Stony Brook University in Long Island, New York, have developed a powerful new painkiller that has no apparent side effects or addictive qualities. The drug has unlimited potential to help many people and may only be a year from being available.
“This offers a major paradigm shift in the control of pain,” said Dr. Simon Halegoua, Professor of Neurobiology & Behavior at Stony Brook University. Dr. Halegoua and two colleagues had, in the 1990s, identified a sodium ion channel involved in pain transmission. This channel, called PN1/Nav 1.7, would control pain and is expressed in peripheral nerves in the body.
“When a patient is given an opiate like morphine, pain signals are still transmitted from sensory nerves to the central nervous system. Morphine action throughout the brain reduces and alters pain perception, but it also impairs judgment and results in drug dependence. With drugs targeting the PN1/Nav 1.7 sodium ion channel, the pain signals would not be transmitted, even by the sensory nerves. And since the central nervous system is taken out of the equation, there would be no side effects and no addictive qualities.”
Hopes are high that this unique new painkiller could have the potential to help countless patients suffering from cancer, arthritis, migraines, and pain from many other chronic illnesses.
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