15.07.2019 change 15.07.2019

Researchers at the University of Warsaw developed a substance more effective than the strongest painkillers

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Chemical compound with analgesic properties, 5,000 times more effective than the strongest currently available painkillers, has been developed by scientists from the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Warsaw. After passing the clinical trials, the drug could be used to relieve pain, for example of neuropathic origin.

The new substance was developed by a team of scientists from the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Warsaw under the supervision of Prof. Aleksandra Misicka-Kęsik, in cooperation with Prof. Barbara Przewłocka from the Institute of Pharmacology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. University of Warsaw informed about the discovery in a press release.

The chemical compound with strong analgesic properties belongs to the family of peptidomimetics. One part of the molecule acts on the opioid receptors, which results in the suppression of pain reactions, while the other part acts on the melanocortin 4 receptor, which is responsible for sending the signal initiating the pain. Administration of a single compound results in the body simultaneously sending a signal that inhibits the existing pain and another signal suppressing the source of its induction.

"This is a huge advantage over previously known painkillers, because they all work in one way or the other, but none of them uses both methods at the same time" - says Dr. Rafał Wieczorek, a member of the team conducting research on the new substance, quoted in the press release.

Drugs in the opioid family, such as, for example morphine, are currently used to relieve neuropathic pain. The drawbacks of these drugs are addictive properties and severe side effects. The introduction of a new drug based on a peptidomimetic gives hope for complete and long-lasting pain relief, because compared to morphine, a few thousand times lower concentrations are needed to achieve a result, and a higher dose eliminates pain completely, even if it is a result of damaged or irritated nerves, reads the release.

The drug is the subject of a Polish patent application and patent applications in selected countries. Advanced work is currently under way on the first phase of clinical trials. If the successive stages of clinical trials are successful, the drug will become available that will relieve neuropathic pain or pain associated with acute traumatic conditions.

"The discovery has enormous potential for commercialisation Successful clinical trials would allow to produce a universal, extremely effective drug, the likes of which has never been available on the market. In practice, it would be a rescue for many people struggling with chronic pain, which currently has no effective remedy" - says Dr. Robert Dwiliński, Director of the University Technology Transfer Centre of the University of Warsaw.

The project received a PLN 12.6 million grant from the Smart Growth Operational Programme of the National Centre for Research and Development.

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