Researchers discovered the gene responsible for producing chronic pain. They believe that this would lead to making a drug that could treat the diseases for a longer time.
A group of researchers from the University of Cambridge had removed the HCN2 gene from pain-sensitive nerves in mice. They find out that removing the gene would only stop chronic pain, but does not have any effect on the acute pain.
In the UK, there are one in seven people are suffering from chronic pains like arthritis and headaches.
The researchers believe that the new findings could pave a way for developing a drug that could treat chronic diseases.
Over the years, the gene known as HCN2 now recognized, but no one understood its role in regulating pain.
For research, the researchers eliminated the HCN2 gene from pain-sensitive nerves. They then performed by using electrical stimuli on the nerves in cell cultures, so that they could determine how it affects the mice when they remove the HCN2.
In measuring the speed that the mice removed from different types of painful stimuli, the scientists manage to conclude that deleting the HCN2 gene eliminated neuropathic pain.
However, deleting the gene does not affect the normal, acute pain, which normally happens normally. An excellent example is when a person bites their tongue.
Chronic pain has two main varieties, inflammatory and Neuropathic pain. The first one take place once a persistent injury, such as a burn or arthritis, takes a domino effect in highly sensitive nerve endings that increase the feeling of pain.
Neuropathic pain happens when the nerve gets damaged, which causes constant pain. This chronic pain is often lifelong, can be normal and cannot be treated by the latest drugs today. This pain can be seen from people suffering from diabetes and those with shingles. Usually, it occurs in the lower back as well as other chronic pain conditions.
Professor Peter McNaughton, lead author of the study and head of the department of pharmacology at the University of Cambridge, said the new findings gives hope for these patients.
Individuals, who suffer from neuropathic pain repeatedly, do not have a break because there are no medications for their condition. The research lays the basis for the development of new drugs in treating chronic pain by blocking HCN2.
McNaughton added that there are several genes that have a decisive role in pain sensation, but in most cases disturbing them simply eradicates all pains, even those that are helpful.