The majority of people suffer from chronic pain, which is perhaps due to various disease conditions like cancer, diabetes, or trauma. In general, more than 100 million Americans are undergoing different opioid therapies for neuropathic pain. For instance, people had taken the potential painkillers since the 1990s. The hapless situation created now was drug abuse and overdosage. So, the scientists are in search of the best alternatives to relieve the pain thus minimizing the abusive opioid painkillers.
Researchers identified a protein EphB1 that is present on the surface of the nerve cells. This protein acts as a key link in developing neuropathic pain. They did work on mice after genetically removing EphB1 protein. To a surprise, the mice did not feel any pain after removing the protein. This has hinted them to experiment with therapeutic agents to target EphB1 protein. They started analyzing the molecular structure of the protein and corresponding it to the specific agent. Three longtime antibiotics like demeclocycline, chlortetracycline, minocycline have the potential to bind to this protein and can subsequently reverse the pain. The experts have done it in Petri dishes to prove the success of the treatment. Besides, looking further to crystallography gave similar outcomes just like the previous one.
A combination of these three drugs, when given to different mouse models of neuropathic pain has sufficiently reduced painful stimuli like heat or pressure than giving one drug alone. While performing postmortem, the physicians got the sample of the brain and spinal cord to check the activity of EphB1 protein. The result showed that the protein was inactivated and made the researchers hit the jackpot. This kind of alternative treatment could probably prevent the opioid epidemic shortly.
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Source: Medical Xpress