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Targeting This Protein Could Help Relieve Chronic Pain

Targeting this protein could help relieve chronic pain. New research in mice found that blocking a key protein in the spinal cord could work as a new pain relief medication that could treat chronic pain in thousands of people.

Chronic pain affects about one-fifth of adults in the United States. Chronic pain is a pain that lasts at least 12 weeks. Another type of chronic pain called neuropathic pain is a particular concern.

Neuropathic pain is a complex, chronic pain state which affects around 10% of the U.S. population. The condition is associated with a range of causes such as physical injury to the nerves, viral infections, as well as conditions such as diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption, and multiple sclerosis.

A new study has found that targeting a particular protein can relieve pain. The research findings now appear in the journal of Science Advances. The researchers targeted sortilin protein. The team used molecular techniques to investigate the link between sortilin and pain.

“Once nerve damage has occurred, and the nerve cells go into overdrive, molecules are released, which start a domino effect that ultimately triggers pain,” she continues.

“The domino effect can be inhibited by a particular molecule in the spinal cord called neurotensin, and our studies show that the neurotensin is ‘captured’ by sortilin so that the brake is itself inhibited,” As assistant professor Mette Richner from Aarhus University, Denmark, said.

The researcher said that further research will require the help of the pharmaceutical industry. They also added that they can’t conclude whether these findings can apply to humans.


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