Gene Therapy Promises Long-Sought Pain Relief

In the first clinical trial of gene therapy for the treatment of pain, researchers from the University of Michigans Department of Neurology have discovered that the treatment appears to deliver substantial relief. The study, published in a recent online edition of Annals of Neurology, showed that the agent NP2-a gene transfer vector that produces the naturally occurring opioid peptide enkephalin-is not only safe but well-tolerated. In addition, measures of pain in the treated patients suggested that NP2 may provide significant pain relief. In pre-clinical work in animals, researchers found that injection of NP2 into the skin reduces pain caused by nerve damage, inflammation, or cancer.
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