A new gene discovery has apparently paved the way for better pain medications in the future --- with researchers from the University of Cambridge having identified a gene that is associated with chronic pain!
According to the researchers, a gene that seemingly regulates chronic pain has been successfully isolated. The gene – HCN2 - produces a protein which is the key cause of chronic neuropathic pain that is generally very difficult to control and plays a role in nerve damage.
It was after engineering the removal of the HCN2 gene from pain-sensitive nerves that the researchers ascertained how the gene’s removal altered pain-sensitive nerves in cell cultures.
After finding that the results from the in vitro studies in cell cultures were promising, the researchers then observed genetically modified mice in which the HCN2 gene had been deleted.
On the basis of the swiftness with which the mice withdrew from different types of painful stimuli, the researchers came to the conclusion that the deletion of the HCN2 gene abolished neuropathic pain.
Noting that it could be possible to treat neuropathic pain effectively if drugs could be developed for blocking the protein produced by the HCN2 gene, lead researcher Peter McNaughton told the Daily Mail: “Our research lays the groundwork for the development of new drugs to treat chronic pain by blocking HCN2”!