Ever wonder why your significant other about falls down in pain when they slightly stub their toe and you can dig out a splinter with a dull kitchen knife and just shake it off? No? Turns out they (or you) might not just be a wuss. This article does explains there is “rapidly expanding evidence that dozens of genes and variants go into determining our pain sensitivity and how well analgesics – like opioids – reduce our pain and even our risk for developing chronic pain.” So, next time someone says “go rub some dirt on it” you can tell them you have a variation in your SCN9A gene. For everything you ever wanted to know about pain, go here. Speaking of pain, there wasn’t much at the All Drug Olympics.
The good people at Wake Forest University are working to find a safe, non-addictive pain killer to help fight the current opioid crisis. As published in Science Translational Medicine, researchers “have developed a bifunctional MOP/NOP agonist, called AT-121, that showed potent analgesic effects in nonhuman primates without inducing hyperalgesia, respiratory depression, or dependence. The results suggest that bifunctional MOP/NOP agonists might represent a safe and effective pharmacological tool for treating severe pain.” Well done. Can anyone say Fast Track designation? Researchers observed that AT-121 showed the same level of pain relief as an opioid, but at a 100-times lower dose than morphine and it blunted the addictive effects of oxycodone. Yes, it’s early and the tests were not in humans, but it looks like these researchers are off to a promising start. Best of luck!