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IMAGE: The study aimed to block signals caused by the binding of nNOS to the protein NOS1AP (model on the left) during neurotransmission, as a new approach for treating chronic pain…. view more 

Credit: The University of Turku

Neuropathic pain is the chronic, pathological pain that continues even when the cause of pain is removed. Causes include damage to nerve cells and medicines used to treat cancer. A collaboration between research groups from Indiana University in Bloomington, USA and Turku Centre for Biotechnology in Finland has discovered a novel therapeutic that appears to interrupt the signaling cascades in the body required for multiple forms of neuropathic pain.

Neuropathic pain is extremely common, affecting up to 5-10% of the population globally, and no cures or effective treatments are currently available. Moreover, chemotherapy-induced pain can be so extreme that it causes some patients with cancer to discontinue treatment and greatly impairs quality of life in survivors.

Prior to this study, researchers were aware that pathological pain is triggered by a biological pathway that is activated by binding of the excitatory transmitter glutamate to receptors called NMDARs. This process then triggers activation of an enzyme neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) that generates

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