Wonderpill To Tackle Chronic Pain In the Offing
The breakthrough could revolutionize the lives of sufferers, many of whom cannot have their pain controlled by current medicines.
It is hoped that clinical trials of a new drug will start in as little as three years' time, with hopes it could be widely available for use by 2017.
Drugs available at present only help 40 percent of patients struck by crippling pain, leaving the rest in daily agony.
A British team of experts have now identified novel compounds to help treat chronic pain without unwanted sedative side-effects.
They hope to create an easy-to-take pill which could block the pain signals.
Scientists at the University of Liverpool and the Royal Liverpool University Hospital have been awarded a 1.4-million-pound grant to design a new drug for chronic pain.
The research team is examining compounds which target the glycine receptor - one of the main receptors in the central nervous system - which is crucial in the sensation of chronic pain.
They have already identified compounds which they think could be used as the basis of new treatments.
"This is an exciting project that expands our drug discovery into a new therapeutic area with a huge unmet medical need. Our team has made significant advances in this area and this funding provides us with the opportunity to drive the project forward towards an entirely new class of drug for the treatment of chronic pain conditions," the Daily Express quoted
Professor Martin Leuwer, a member of the research team, as saying.
"We're aiming to develop molecules that target the glycine receptor into a drug that can be administered as a tablet.
"Our ultimate aim is to allow chronic pain patients to regain a dramatically improved quality of life," he added.