Scientists find gene that controls chronic pain | Reuters

British scientists have identified a gene responsible for regulating chronic pain, called HCN2, and say their discovery should help drug researchers in their search for more effective, targeted pain-killing medicines.

Scientists from Cambridge University said that if drugs could be designed to block the protein produced by the gene, they could treat a type of pain known as neuropathic pain, which is linked to nerve damage and often very difficult to control with currently available drugs.

“Individuals suffering from neuropathic pain often have little or no respite because of the lack of effective medications,” said Peter McNaughton of Cambridge’s pharmacology department, who led the study.

“Our research lays the groundwork for the development of new drugs to treat chronic pain by blocking HCN2.

“Pain is an enormous health burden worldwide, estimated to cost more than 200 billion euros $281 billion a year in Europe and around $150 billion a year in the United States.

Studies show that around 22 percent of people with chronic pain become depressed and 25 percent go on to lose their jobs. A 2002/03 survey by a group called Pain in Europe estimated that as many as one in five Europeans suffers chronic pain.

via Scientists find gene that controls chronic pain | Reuters.

Well, this looks like a very good breakthrough for those affected by chronic neuropathic pain. The number of people who, due to this malady, end up addicted to painkillers (often even resulting in illicit use of opioids such as heroin, and the overdoses, imprisonment, ostracism, and other complications that arise therefrom), or otherwise find themselves completely incapacitated. I’ve seen enough people in this position that this news is very exciting. Now, to wait and see how much they want to bleed people for on the price tag…

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