A tiny protein found in cone snail venom may be the source of a new medication that is safer and more effective than morphine for those who suffer chronic nerve pain. This substance is one of five compounds that were found by the David Craik, Ph.D. and his colleagues a the University of Queensland. Craik reported his findings at the American Chemical Society Meeting this year.
As reported in NewsWise, Craik, who is at the University of Queensland, explained that acute pain occurs when the nervous system is stimulated by a wound or injury and naturally subsides over time. In contrast, chronic neuropathic pain kicks in when the nervous system itself is damaged. This type of pain — which is often triggered by diabetes, multiple sclerosis and other diseases — can last for months, years or even decades. Current treatments for chronic neuropathic pain have serious side effects and provide relief to only about one in every three patients, he said.
This finding of a novel source of a new group of substances known as conotoxins may pave the way for new drugs to treat chronic neuropathic pay in a new and different way.
In my humble opinion, this can't come too soon. There are more neuropathic pain sufferers than we ever care to think about, and they need all the help they can get. So let's hope this finding leads to a better future for this group of folks!
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