collaborative research explores breakthroughs in biotechnology and gene therapy research of chronic pain


As many as 20–45% of individuals in Europe and the United States are affected by some form of chronic pain. Despite its prevalence and major investments in basic and translational research, the therapeutic options for chronic pain remain limited. Commonly prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, glucocorticoids or analgesics like paracetamol are of partial efficacy. Opioid therapies used as first-line treatment for severe pain (e.g., cancer pain), while sometimes effective, come with major drawbacks, including dose-limiting adverse effects and addiction.

Progress in precision delivery systems and manipulations of transcriptome and genome with surgical accuracy has recently enabled control of the activity of pain-sensing neurons with unprecedented selectivity, offering major translational opportunities with therapeutic potentials. Considering unmet medical needs, much research has been conducted towards the use of new technologies and knowledge for treating chronic pain.

This work highlights the emerging key targets within the electrogenisome of sensory neurons with delivery methods, paving a way for emerging gene therapies in medical use, and offering hope of relief to millions of people affected by chronic pain.

‘The article published in Nature Reviews presents a comprehensive overview on the emerging solutions of an immense healthcare problem using gene therapy’ said Professor Ovsepian, maintaining that he and his co-author Prof Waxman are ‘optimistic that pain medicine is entering a new realm of more effective treatment that will be propelled, in part, by gene therapy’. It is exciting that the University of Greenwich is in the race for finding a cure for chronic pain.

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