An astonishing new painkiller has been developed at Stony Brook University. It boasts no side effects or addictive qualities and could be ready for consumption within a year or two.
"This offers a major paradigm shift in the control of pain," Dr. Simon Halegoua said in a press release.
Halegoua is a Professor of Neurobiology & Behavior at Stony Brook who in the 1990s, teamed up with fellow Stony Brook professors Dr. Gail Mandel and Dr. Paul Brehm to discover a novel sodium ion channel involved in the transmission of pain. They guessed that a drug aimed at blocking this channel, PN1/Nav 1.7, would control pain. PN1 (Peripheral Neuron 1), is uniquely expressed in peripheral nerves such as those involved in pain transduction.
"When a patient is given an opiate like morphine, pain signals are still transmitted from sensory nerves to the central nervous system. Morphine action throughout the brain reduces and alters pain perception, but it also impairs judgement and results in drug dependence," explains Halegoua, also director of the Center for Nervous System Disorders at Stony Brook University. "With drugs targeting the PN1/Nav1.7 sodium ion channel, the pain signals would not be transmitted, even by the sensory nerves. And since the central nervous system is taken out of the equation, there would be no side effects and no addictive qualities."
The use for such drugs would gigantic. They could be used in the abatement or disappearance of pain for patients with cancer, arthritis, migraine headaches, muscle pain, pain from burns, and pain from other enfeebling diseases.
He says that drugs in oral and topical ointment configurations, based on the research he conducted in a basement at Stony Brook with Mandel, a molecular biologist, and Brehm, an electrophysiologist, are currently in Phase II medical testing in England and Canada.
The Research Foundation of the State University of New York is the owner of the various patents which are generated from the work of the Stony Brook researchers. Icagen Inc., are now partners with Pfizer, and they hold the exclusive license to these patents and they have announced their own drug has now entered Phase I medical testing in the U.S.
You are now free to wonder how much they will charge patients per pill when it hits the market. Will the cost of the new drug be affordable?
We can only wait and see.