MAY 11, 2022 8:00 AM PDT

Gene Therapy Shows Promise for Neuropathic Pain

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

A gene therapy has been able to inhibit neuropathic pain with no detectable side effects in mice with spinal cord and peripheral nerve injuries. The corresponding study was published in Molecular Therapy

Neuropathy involves damage or dysfunction in nerves and typically results in chronic or debilitating numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and pain. Currently, there are no effective treatments for the condition. Current pharmaceutical therapies are often complex and have undesirable side effects, including sedation. Opioids may also be used. However, they open a risk for abuse. 

In the present study, researchers used a gene therapy to treat neuropathic pain in mice. The therapy involved injecting a harmless adeno-associated virus carrying transgenes that encode for gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)- an inhibitory neurotransmitter- into mice with sciatic nerve injuries. 

The researchers reported that the production of GABA by the transgenes inhibited pain signaling neurons in the mice, and that these effects lasted for at least 2.5 months following treatment. They noted that treated animals demonstrated both a progressive and complete reversal of neuropathic pain- this denoted by differences in tactile and brush-evoked pain behavior. 

The researchers were able to localize the treatment as they were able to locate the precise injury location. This, they suggest, limited side effects and may explain why they observed no side effects between 2-13 months post-treatment in adult mice, pigs, and primates. 

"One of the prerequisites of a clinically acceptable antinociceptive (pain-blocking) therapy is minimal or no side effects like muscle weakness, general sedation or development of tolerance for the treatment," said senior author of the study Martin Marsala, MD, professor in the Department of Anesthesiology in the UC San Diego School of Medicine.

"A single treatment invention that provides a long-lasting therapeutic effect is also highly desirable. These findings suggest a path forward on both," he concluded. 

 

Sources: Science Daily, Molecular Therapy

 

About the Author
University College London
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
MAY 17, 2022
Cancer
Looking for an Easier Way to Scale-up Your Benchtop Cell Cultures?
MAY 17, 2022
Looking for an Easier Way to Scale-up Your Benchtop Cell Cultures?
Much has been written about scaling up cell culture for bioprocessing and other applications that require a very high de ...
MAY 23, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
A Possible Therapy for Infantile Spasms
MAY 23, 2022
A Possible Therapy for Infantile Spasms
Researchers at Texas Children’s Hospital have identified a possible cause of infantile spasms (IS) as well as a po ...
MAY 25, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
NYU Researchers Find CBD effectively Reduces Post Operative Pain
MAY 25, 2022
NYU Researchers Find CBD effectively Reduces Post Operative Pain
  An NYU research study found that a cannabidiol (CBD) tablet safely and effectively reduced post-operative pain. T ...
JUN 06, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Price and Convenience: Key Reasons Why People Continue to Buy Illegal Cannabis
JUN 06, 2022
Price and Convenience: Key Reasons Why People Continue to Buy Illegal Cannabis
A study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that price and convenience are the two main reaso ...
JUN 04, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Antibiotics Reduce Motivation to Exercise in Mice
JUN 04, 2022
Antibiotics Reduce Motivation to Exercise in Mice
Antibiotics may decrease athletes' motivation and endurance via effects on the microbiome. The corresponding study w ...
JUN 20, 2022
Health & Medicine
In a Small Study, Experimental Immunotherapy Drug for Rectal Cancer has a High Success Rate
JUN 20, 2022
In a Small Study, Experimental Immunotherapy Drug for Rectal Cancer has a High Success Rate
The New England Journal of Medicine published results from a small study by researchers at New York’s Memorial Slo ...
Loading Comments...