Researchers at Butantan Institute in São Paulo, Brazil, have developed a powerful new anti-inflammatory to relieve hard-to-control pain. Initial tests have confirmed the efficacy of the medication, which is based on a protein found in the blood.
The main breakthrough of the research is the successful synthesizing of a protein produced by the human body, the calcium binding S100A9. Under certain conditions, this protein is used by our bodies to keep pain under control. To make the medication, the scientists discovered that only a small part of the protein is required, which leads to reduced production costs.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
According to researcher Renata Giorgi, the discovery represents an important step forward in relation to drugs available in Brazil. In particular the new drug offers two important advantages: it is more powerful and it can be administered orally.
“We’ve discovered that some white blood cells contain a protein that can inhibit pain that stem from an inflammation. By synthesizing a small piece of that protein, we managed to make its dispensation viable,” said Giorgi. She added that the treatment of chronic pain in cases such as nerve lesions is difficult because drugs like morphine lose their efficacy with time.
The drug may not become available for several years and the next stage in the ongoing research is to test for toxicity. In the case of analgesics (painkillers), testing the patient’s level of tolerance is critical as the dosage of such drugs may have to be increased if the patient develops resistance to them.