First Light-activated Analgesic May Change How Pain Disorders Are Treated, Study Suggests

First Light-activated Analgesic May Change How Pain Disorders Are Treated, Study Suggests
Scientists at the Institute of Neurosciences of the University of Barcelona helped develop the first light-activated drug, called JP-NP-26, for the treatment of pain. This novel strategy may revolutionize how we treat pain disorders such as fibromyalgia. The study, “Optical control of pain in vivo with a photoactive mGlu5 receptor negative allosteric modulator,” was published in the journal eLife. The development of drugs according to existing pharmacology is often impaired by constrains such as the difficulty in following the drug in time once delivered, the time required to assess the correct dosages, and cases where the drug is slow or affects multiple tissues. A new field in pharmacology called optopharmacology was developed to overcome some of these constrains. This new discipline uses light to control drug activity. This means that if a drug is developed to be light-sensitive, then scientists can actually control the drug's activity in a spatial and temporal manner. The study reports the development of a "photo-drug" – called JF-NP-26 – that demonstrated a potent therapeutic value for treating pain. "In the clinical field, there is not any precedent of the uses of optopharmacology to improve pain treatment or any disease associated with the nervous system. This is the first light-activated drug designed for the treatment of pain in vivo with animal models," Prof. Francisco Ciruela at the University of Barcelona and the study's co-lead author, said in a
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