Analysis of spider venom reveals seven compounds with potential to relieve chronic pain
New research shows that seven out of the many compounds found in spider venom block a key step in the body’s ability to pass pain signals to the brain. The hunt for a medicine based on just one of these compounds, which would open up a new class of potent painkillers, is now a step closer according to new research published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.
One in five people worldwide currently suffer from chronic pain, and existing pain treatments often fail to provide relief. The economic burden is huge, with chronic pain in the USA alone estimated to cost around $600 billion a year, greater than the combined economic cost of cancer, diabetes and stroke.
People sense that part of their body is hurting when nerves from the affected area send signals to the brain through the ‘pain pathway’. “A compound that blocks Nav1.7 channels is of particular interest for us,” said research team leader Glenn King from The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience in Australia. “Previous research shows indifference to pain among people who…
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