Molecule-blocking drug opens new path to pain relief
New research has shown success at blocking specific molecules involved in maintaining painfollowing a nerve injury, significantly lowering patient discomfort.The tests were successful in laboratory mice, indicating that itmight prove effective in human tests, and the method is simple andeasy for doctors to perform.
The research focused on pain associatedwith injuries to sciatic nerves, looking specifically at the functionof a molecule called high-mobility group box-1 (HMGB1). The Hiroshima University teamtested the molecule-blocking drug, known as anti-HMGB1, on laboratorymice, where it successfully alleviated pain from the injuries withoutany negative impact on healing.
Aside from providing effective painrelief, the new drug may also be less addictive and have less sideeffects than common pain relievers such as morphine, using differentchemical pathways. Furthermore, the researchers found that when thedrug was used to block HMGB1, it also inhibited another moleculecalled matrix metalloprotease-9 (MMP-9), which could provide another means of relieving pain.
The work represents the first time thata link has been found between HMGB1 and MMP-9, and the finding ledresearchers to consider that inhibiting the latter might actuallyprovide a more direct route to pain relief.
The team injected anti-HMGB1 into thehip areas of the mice, in the tissue surrounding the nerve. Accordingto the researchers, the delivery method is simple and largelyrisk-free, avoiding possible side effects of delivering drugs throughthe digestive system via pills, or through injections into the blood.
Overall, the research clearlyidentifies anti-HMGB1 as a good candidate for providing patients withrelief from nerve pain, potentially without risks associated withexisting pain relievers. As always though, clinical trials couldpaint a different picture, so we won't know for sure if the methodmight be useful until human tests are attempted.
The researchers published their work inthe Journal of Neurochemistry.
Source: Hiroshima University