This drug could ease chronic pain and itching in people

Credit: CC0 Public Domain.

In a new study from Durham and Newcastle Universities, researchers found a protein in tick saliva could be turned into a drug that eases itching and chronic pain in people.

They found that the protein—called Votucalis—provided pain and itch relief.

The drug could lead to a replacement for traditional painkillers, for example, opioids, that can be ineffective, can have serious side effects, and can be addictive.

Votucalis is derived from the saliva of ticks—in this case, the brown-ear tick Rhipicephalus appendiculatus—who secrete the protein into their host when feeding so the host is unaware that they have been bitten.

Votucalis is a biologic drug that works by binding histamine, produced in the body, with high affinity and thereby prevents histamine from activating its four cell surface receptors resulting in a reduced itch or chronic pain responses.

Conditions that cause chronic pain or itching include atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, arthritis, diabetes, sciatica, back injuries.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended that current opioid and gabapentinoid pain medications should not be prescribed to patients newly diagnosed with chronic pain, apart from cancer sufferers.

there is an urgent need to develop a new, long-lasting medication that is both effective and safe to use.

This study is the first to show evidence of the anti-itch and pain relief potential of Votucalis, which is very exciting.

Unlike opioids—which are morphine-based—the research shows that Votucalis does not enter the brain, which means it is not addictive and less likely to cause side effects.

It can be manufactured in large amounts using recombinant methods.

The team says it is amazing that a protein found in the saliva of this tiny creature could prevent chronic pain and itching in people.

These are conditions that bring a huge amount of misery, and current medication displays limited efficacy, and can also often be detrimental to patients.

Votucalis has already been tested in humans with other conditions, including conjunctivitis, without major side effects, so the potential for this to be developed into a drug to tackle chronic pain and itching is definitely there.

The researchers say the next step towards clinical testing is to develop a delivery system to effectively administer the drug at the site of itch and pain.

If you care about pain, please read studies about cannabis hemp oil that may effectively treat chronic neuropathic pain, and findings of pain medicine that may effectively reduce high blood pressure.

For more information about pain and your health, please see recent studies about an effective way to reduce back pain, and results showing that her pain seemed muscular. It was actually a heart attack.

The study is published in Frontiers in Pharmacology and was conducted by Dr. Paul Chazot et al.

Copyright © 2022 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.