“Recipe for Painlessness” Discovered, New Drugs on Horizon

“Recipe for Painlessness” Discovered, New Drugs on Horizon

Researchers from the University College of London (UCL) said that after roughly ten years of intense research they have “discovered the recipe for painlessness,” according to the college’s press release.

How’d they find the recipe?  They pretty much worked backwards on the problem by studying a person (and genetically modified mice) who cannot feel pain at all.

People who have Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis (CIPA) cannot feel pain principally because they are born without a sodium channel called Nav1.7.  Nav1.7 is instrumental in carrying pain signals to the nervous system.

The researchers also found that people without Nav1.7 sodium channels have higher than normal levels of natural opioid peptides.

In short, people with CIPA lack an important channel to carry pain signals, have increased natural opioids, and the result is they are unable to experience pain.

Researchers then created genetically modified mice that also lack the Nav1.7 sodium channel for precise physiological experiments of the nervous system.

They gave a 39-year-old woman who was born without the Nav1.7 sodium channel naloxone – an opioid blocker – and she felt pain for the first time.  They gave naloxone to the modified mice and found they could perceive pain, too.

“After a decade of rather disappointing drug trials, we now have confirmation that Nav1.7 really is a key element in human pain,” said John Wood, a professor at University College London, in the press release.

“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,” he added.

The combination, they believe, is a recipe for the future of pain management – one they see will a) eliminate the problems associated with high-dose opioids, b) eliminate the numbness broad-based sodium channel blockers cause, while eliminating unwanted pain.

“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,” Wood stated.

The study is published in Nature Communications.

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Authored by: Staff

There are 11 comments for this article
  1. Diane Gracely at 10:43 am

    I’ve been living with chronic pain since I was 5 years old thanks to Charcot Marie Tooth disease and being hit by a drunk driver. I am almost 52 years old and to be pain free or even HALF pain free would give me a life. I had no real childhood. I couldn’t do the things other kids could like run, play sports, etc… My disease deformed my feet at a very young age. At age 32 I had both feet completely reconstructed which relieved a lot of my pain BUT changing the way I walked for 32 years caused many problems with my back. AND being hit by a drunk driver caused many more herniated discs in my neck and back. On top of scoliosis which I’ve had since I was young. Every day of my life is a battle to get up and get moving. Once I’m moving in the mornings the pain lets up a slight bit.
    PLEASE get this figured out and give us chronic pain patients RELIEF before we are TOO OLD to enjoy some simple things in life. God this would be such a blessing, a blessing I can only imagine….

  2. Ann Swinton at 9:16 pm

    I have had chronic pain for years, from arm and lower back injury, and have been diagnosed with fibro myalgia 2 years ago, and it’s not much fun it would be wonderful not to be in pain, and not have to be constantly having to take pain killers that only give small amount of relief.

  3. Sandy at 5:47 pm

    I would like to be in the trials > with chronic fibro for over forty years > I am due to have a day without pain…

  4. Johann Owen at 2:20 pm

    I would be very interested in being on any trials. I was involved in a car crash in 1999 and have been in pain every single day since then, then to top it off I have Fibromyalgia, diagnosed 2 years ago. What I wouldn’t give to just have one day without pain. I take pregabalin, tramadol, anti depressants that also help with pain as well as depression, tablets for this, tablets for that. I am so sick and tired of being sick and tired. Will definitely be keeping my eyes open (as much as I can with chronic fatigue as well) for this though. Hope it’s not too good to be true.

  5. KATHLEEN Shafer at 11:49 am

    This would be amazing! The thought of eing able to live in that world of less, MUCH LESS pain would improve my quality of life so much. As an RSD sufferer, I live moment to moment, day to day. I would love to be with my 2 little girls and loving husband without feeling like such a burden to them. To walk and play and truly enjoy life with my family.

  6. Michelle at 3:06 pm

    Ok really? This very idea has crossed my mind so meny times. I am no scientist & by no means any smarter then anyone else. But I have lived with chronic pain almost 20 yrs. And though I don’t know the medical term for it. I’ve heard about these people who can’t feel pain. And honestly it makes sense to me to take thier Condition & work backwards. How could I possibly even consider such a concept. Living with extreme pain causes one to think alot about where to find relief.
    Especially when the one thing that helps, causes others to behave & treat you as though you just want to take the drugs (opiates). Either/or treat you like a criminal. It is such a very hard place to live in. I’m no criminal! And I’d love a near normal life without the opiates. I’ be worked hard most of my life & I love America. I been with the same man/husband over 41 yrs. We have two hard working, God fearing/honoring, children. They don’t drink, smoke or use drugs. We’ve never had much, except what counts. We love each other, God, family & all Gods creation. I pray there is something to this new research. And if not that nay sayers will learn to be kinder and more excepting of those of us who just want a more normal life. A life with less pain & less judgment.

  7. BL at 12:04 pm

    Scott michaels, surely they have found a way to adjust it so that a person could feel some pain. It isn’t pratical to not experience pain because pain can alert you to injuries and life threatening problems like heart attacks. Not being able to feel pain also means that you are more likely to go beyond what you can do and cause more injury, which sn’t good. It may be on the market in other countries, but I don’t see the FDA approving it in the US if you can’t feel a certain level of pain. We have to adjust our activity and life style. We can’t continue on like nothing has happened to our bodies, unless we want to cause more damage and end up much worse off.

  8. Veronica Clark at 8:54 am

    My quality of life is severely lacking, due to the amount of pain I am in daily, 24 hours a day. I never wanted this. I fought the pain for as long as I could. I have no fight left. Even the Mayo clinic said ‘well, if your shoulder doesn’t get any better in a few months, we will do surgery’. For what? No one knows what is wrong with it! No one knows what fibromyalgia truly is. No one knows what causes my migraines. Why is my back falling to pieces? Give me answers, and then I could move forward. Otherwise, what London has sounds darn good to me!!

  9. Veronica Clark at 8:42 am

    Wow! Would I love to be on that trial!! With my several pain issues, and very little relief, I’m willing to try anything. It would be awesome just to wake up one day – just one, with no migraine, let alone the other pain causing problems I have!! Why isn’t the U.S. doing something similar to this?

  10. Scott michaels at 8:11 am

    so in other words you wont know if you have a broken leg or having a heart attack. that doesntake much b sense