Nav1.7 plays an important role in pain pathways, and individuals born with non-functioning Nav1.7 fail to experience pain. Although scientists have developed drugs that would block Nav1.7 in an attempt to block pain, they have met with little success. Rresearchers from University College London did further research on designing a new treatment for eliminating the feeling of pain. They made a significant observation that transgenetic mice with non-functioning Nav1.7 produced more opioid peptides than those with functioning Nav1.7 did. To test whether opioids are also responsible for cutting off pain, they gave the mice an opioide blocker, naloxone, and they found that Nav1.7 lacking mice became capable of feeling pain. The study confirmed that Nav1.7 and opioids together play an important role in painlessness. The team now hopes to get a patent on a novel treatment for pain management by combining low doses of opoids and Nav1.7 blockers. Moreover, this treatment has an edge over conventional opioid painkillers such as morphine that are damaging to humans when used over a long period of time.
Read more in Science Daily.