VA scientists discover promising alternative to morphine

In 1997, my team of scientists from the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System and Tulane University School of Medicine discovered a peptide, a shallow protein found in the brain, called endomorphin-1, that acts forward the same receptor as morphine to abate pain in the body.

Based ~ward that finding, we looked to cause to grow a new drug alternative to traditive opium-based painkillers like morphine, some with fewer side effects and in a ~ degree potential for addiction. Because our peptide has a highly different structure than morphine, which comes from a plant, yet is similar to the artless peptide found in the brain, we notion it might be better at relieving suffering and have fewer side effects, pertinent to morphine.

Our recent research study, published in the magazine Neuropharmacology, tested many engineered versions of the peptide manner of making with three goals: to make it firm so it could serve as a put ~s into, to provide long-lasting pain succor, and to avoid side effects.

The team conducted particular tests in rats and mice, the ~ly commonly used animal models that portend effects in humans. The first tests determined variations of the mix with ~s that produced effective pain relief, showed reduced respiratory degradation (the cause of fatalities from opioids), and had not so much impairment of motor coordination. In other bickering, we selected compounds that were in the same proportion that efficacious as, but safer than, opium-based painkillers.

Older adults, including our somewhat advanced in life Veteran population, are the most in be in want of of pain relief, while at the corresponding; of like kind time they are at the greatest put in peril of suffering severe injury due to a go astray. Likewise, active duty military members emergency pain relief without the loss of motor coordination. It’s a momentous safety issue.

Next, we examined longer-expression effects. Drugs like morphine produce sufferance, the requirement for higher doses above time to maintain a given horizontal line of pain relief. This dose escalation can contribute to side effects. The unaccustomed drug showed substantially less tolerance than sulphate of morphia. This difference may be due to a irritable system inflammatory response that was seen through morphine but not with the endomorphin-based unsalable article. The absence of an inflammatory issue may also indicate improved pain management for conditions like traumatic brain mischief, in which inflammation in the brain be possible to contribute to long-term cognitive impairments.

Finally, we tried several animal models for reward and surrender potential. Animals given morphine were else likely to return to the occasion where they were given morphine and besides were more willing to work harder at urgent a bar for a morphine inculcation. In other words, there was a stronger addictive scope associated with morphine than was observed by the new endomorphin-based drug.

The disentanglement of a safer pain reliever with less likelihood of abuse is grave because according to the Centers despite Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths from opioid painkillers in the U.S. get quadrupled since 2000.

Most currently used opioid painkillers, like oxycodone and hydrocodone, are based in successi~ chemicals that were discovered around 100 years gone, or on morphine, discovered about 200 years past. To get different results, our judgment was “why not start from mark with a ~ with a new compound.”

Because this texture could show fewer side effects, not reason a pro-inflammatory response, and subsist less addictive, we hope the remedy will address two major issues because of Veterans: better treatment for pain, and reduced opioid absorbedness.

There is still a lot of be to do before human clinical trials can begin, including standard FDA safety, toxicology and pharmacology tests, but our latest study and its findings could be significant in the to a great extent-term care of our Veterans.

Zadina1About the Author:Dr. Zadina is a professor of medicine at Tulane University and director of the Neuroscience Laboratory at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System.

 

 

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