Pain Relief Evident in Type of MRI Scan Could Aid Drug Development

Pain Relief Evident in Type of MRI Scan Could Aid Drug Development
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) measures of the brain's neural response to pain may be a viable tool for evaluating the effectiveness of new pain medications under development, according to the study “Disambiguating Pharmacodynamic Efficacy from Behavior with Neuroimaging,”published in the journal Anesthesiology. Chronic pain affects 20 percent of the European population, yet effective analgesics are relatively few. Many potential compounds identified in preclinical research fail to reach the market, either discarded after poor results in randomized human trials or due to the difficulties in translating analgesic efficacy in animals to patients. Identifying the potential effectiveness of compounds early would help both by limiting unnecessary human exposure to ineffective compounds and by giving support to difficult but promising medications. Vishvarani Wanigasekera, PhD, a clinical post-doctoral research fellow at Nuffield Division of Anaesthetics, University of Oxford, and colleagues found that treating pain with analgesics may be measured through the use of FMRI, which could assist in drug development for conditions such as fibromyalgia“We believe that neuroimaging techniques, such as [functional MRI] FMRI, can provide objective evidence that can be used as outcome measures in early drug development to enhance the efficiency of the drug development process,” Dr. Wanigasekera said in a
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