Columbia University Researchers Discover Onoff Switch For Chroni

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ephemera, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    Saw this elsewhere. FYI. Another baby step?

    Columbia University Researchers Discover On-off Switch For Chronic Pain
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    Chronic pain affects approximately 48 million people in the U.S. and current medications are either largely ineffective or have serious side effects. But researchers from Columbia University Medical Center have discovered a protein in nerve cells that acts as a switch for chronic
    pain, and have applied for a patent to develop a new class of drugs that will block chronic pain by turning this switch off. The discovery is published on the website of the journal Neuroscience, and will appear in the publication's August issue.

    Most prior attempts at alleviating chronic pain have focused on the "second order" neurons in the spinal cord that relay pain messages to the brain. It's difficult to inhibit the activity of these neurons with drugs,
    though, because the drugs need to overcome the blood-brain barrier.
    Instead, the CUMC researchers have focused on the more accessible "first order" neurons in the periphery of our body that send messages to the spinal cord.

    Pain becomes chronic when the activity of first and second order neurons persists after damaged neuron heals or the tissue inflammation subsides. It's been known for years that for chronic pain to persist, a master switch must be turned on inside the peripheral neurons, though until now
    the identity of this switch remained a mystery. Richard Ambron, Ph.D., professor of cell biology, and Ying-Ju Sung, Ph.D., assistant professor, both in the department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, have now discovered that the switch is an enzyme called protein kinase G (PKG).

    "We're very optimistic that this discovery and our continued research will ultimately lead to a novel approach to pain relief for the millions suffering from chronic pain," said Dr. Ambron.

    The researchers found that upon injury or inflammation, the PKG is turned on and activated. Once activated, these molecules set off other processes that generate the pain messages. As long as the PKG remains on, the pain
    persists. Conversely, turning the PKG off relieves the pain, making PKG an excellent target for therapy.

    Dr. Ambron and Dr. Sung have applied for a patent for the pathway that turns on the PKG, as well as several molecules that inhibit it.

    Based on the 2004 Americans Living with Pain Survey, 72 percent of people with chronic pain have lived with it for more than three years, including a third who have lived with pain for more than a decade. Yet nearly half of people with pain do not consult a physician for several months or
    longer, despite the impact the pain has on their lives.

    The worldwide painkiller market was worth $50 billion in 2005 and is expected to increase to $75 billion by 2010 and $105 billion by 2015. But none of the existing drugs on the market are adequate to deal with chronic pain. Cox-2 inhibitors carry severe risk of side effects, opioids are
    highly addictive, Tylenol is ineffective for chronic pain, and other pain drugs cause significant drowsiness.

  2. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

  3. Smiffy

    Smiffy Member

    Thanks for posting this. It's always good when new research gives us hope.
  4. carebelle

    carebelle New Member

    This is a great post. Thank you
  5. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    Smiffy & Carebelle, glad you thought it was helpful.

    I asked my rheumie yesterday if there was any new research coming into view that he thought was positive. he said no & there wouldn't be any money in pain research as too few people need it.

    Hello???? I thought he was crazy as loads of people are in chronic pain & their is both a need & a market for it. I had reached my saturation point in my appointment & saw no point in expending my energy disputing the opinion.
  6. sues1

    sues1 New Member

  7. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    Thanks for this hon! Seems like they keep on stating the obvious as we've learned this in other studies, but maybe they just might get into further detail. Looks promising, but I wish they had more answers.

    Hugs! :)
    [This Message was Edited on 07/25/2006]
  8. snooker11

    snooker11 New Member

    good article. thanks for posting. your rheumie seems to be really out of touch, though. No market for chronic pain? what a moron. there's a HUGE market for chronic pain. hundreds of millions of people.

  9. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    TX LOve Anne C
  10. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    fight4cure, here's the info which you can post on your thread. Source: Science Daily
    Date: July 20, 2006

    As we can't post URLs or websites, you can check on these by accessing sciencedaily (1 word) or sciencedirect (1 word).

    The paper of Sung, Chiu en Ambron can be found in Neuroscience, Vol. 141, #2, 697-709

    hope this helps