Farewell to chronic pain?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

A team co-led by McGill professor Jeffrey Mogil and the Hospital for Sick Children’s Michael Salter has been working to understand why only certain people develop pain while others do not–knowledge that prove crucial for developing individualized therapies. Their research was published online in Nature Medicine.

During their research, they identified a gene that affects chronic pain sensitivity. The gene encodes the pain receptor P2X7, which has two functions: the forming of pores that enables the passage of molecules and the process of allowing tinier ions to flow through. The scientists discovered that, while not impeding on the second function, a peptide could target the pore formation only, a process that would result in dramatic pain reduction.

Chronic pain currently affects one in five people. The researchers’ findings define a way towards the development of drugs that kill pain and minimize side effects. Read more about this research here.

The study was supported by the Krembil Foundation, the Louise and Alan Edwards Foundation, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and SickKids Foundation. Jeffrey Mogil is the E.P. Taylor Professor of Pain Research in McGill’s Department of Psychology.

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