Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
An interesting interview with a young research award winner on using spider venom to block ion channels on nerves that produce pain signals. It illustrates the complexity of finding a new drug for pain.
When we found Pn3a, we were hopeful that we would have quite a novel treatment for pain. This was based on the human phenotype, where loss of function of Nav1.7 results in congenital insensitivity to pain—people feel no pain at all—and they’re otherwise normal except they can’t smell. We were excited to find this selective modulator, and based on the human phenotype, it should treat all sorts of pain with no or limited side effects.
What’s been intriguing is that this hasn’t been the case, and we want to find out why. But we haven’t tested Pn3a in all pain models yet, so it’s possible that it might be effective for one type of pain more than another. However, what we have found is that it produces synergistic analgesia with opioids. So at the moment, it looks like we might be able to use Pn3a in conjunction with opioids to at least lower the dosage of opioids and reduce side effects.