A drug that has helped millions of people in the US lose weight and prevent diabetes has also made it easier for people with severe pain to access pain relief.
In a new study, the authors report that they used a combination of a drug that blocks a chemical messenger called PKA that causes pain to kill off an important part of the pain system, which makes it easier to relieve pain.
“It’s very important that the drug is effective,” said Dr Daniel Cram, from Harvard Medical School.
“The PKA is very important for the brain to respond to the pain.”
The researchers looked at the PKA activity of a molecule called kappaB.
They found that it is increased by pain.
PKA was also significantly increased in people with cancer and people with heart disease, suggesting that the pain caused by a disease could be blocked by a chemical that also makes pain go away.
PKBs are key signalling molecules that are vital for the pain pathway, and were also seen in other inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis.
The team looked at four types of patients: those who suffer from cancer, people with rheumatic diseases, people who have cancer but have not yet developed the disease, and people who were treated with drugs for other ailments.
They used an experimental drug called VEGF, developed by Dr David Fischbach at the Massachusetts General Hospital, to give the patients the drug while keeping the pain at bay.
The drugs work by inhibiting PKA, so the pain is not triggered by any chemicals that might cause inflammation.
“In a normal human being, the PKB signaling pathway is stimulated when we experience pain,” said Prof David Llewellyn, from the University of Cambridge, who was not involved in the research.
“But in cancer patients, it’s a lot more sensitive.
It’s activated by the pain itself.”
Prof Llewyn added that this finding “represents a very exciting discovery”.
“We found that this drug is able to block the PKAs activity and to increase the sensitivity of PKA signalling,” he said.
“And we found that the response is very different between patients with cancer, for example, who have no symptoms of pain, and cancer patients.”
The painkilling properties of the drug were first detected in people suffering from rheumatism and other inflammatory conditions, such as cancer.
But it was only recently that it had been shown to also stop pain caused during chemotherapy.
The drug has been used in humans for decades, and was originally developed to treat rheummas in cancer, but also to treat conditions like cancer in the stomach and pancreas.
Prof Cram said it was possible that the new drug might be able to be used to treat other inflammatory diseases.
“We think it could potentially be used for a lot of different inflammatory diseases, such, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis,” he told New Scientist.
“So it could be used as a potential treatment for cancer patients.”
“One of the things that we are learning about in this research is that it’s very possible that we have an inhibitor for pain, an inhibitor that blocks the PKSs activity and that reduces inflammation. “
And if we can develop drugs that block these PKAs, then we can get the same effect with drugs that target other pain pathways, such a prostaglandin E2 receptor.””
One of the things that we are learning about in this research is that it’s very possible that we have an inhibitor for pain, an inhibitor that blocks the PKSs activity and that reduces inflammation.
And if we can develop drugs that block these PKAs, then we can get the same effect with drugs that target other pain pathways, such a prostaglandin E2 receptor.”
“There’s been a lot written about pain and the brain, and there’s been quite a lot that hasn’t really worked, so we wanted to know if there’s something we could do that was safe and effective, and if we could find something that didn’t work, and would have the same impact.” “
This research is really about understanding how to use it to treat pain.”
“There’s been a lot written about pain and the brain, and there’s been quite a lot that hasn’t really worked, so we wanted to know if there’s something we could do that was safe and effective, and if we could find something that didn’t work, and would have the same impact.”
Dr Cram added that the work was not meant to be a criticism of the research but rather to “explore what the next step is”.
“It has been a huge challenge to develop these drugs,” he explained.
“I think the next thing is to find drugs that are safe and don’t cause side effects and do things that are really useful for the world, such in the areas of cancer treatment.”
The study was published in Nature Biotechnology.