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Gene that controls chronic pain identified

Research lays groundwork for the development of new, targeted pain medications

 

A gene responsible for regulating chronic pain, called HCN2, has been identified by scientists at the University of Cambridge.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and EU funded research, published last week (09 September) in the journal Science, opens up the possibility of targeting drugs to block the protein produced by the gene in order to combat chronic pain.

Approximately one person in seven in the UK suffers from chronic, or long-lasting, pain of some kind, the commonest being arthritis, back pain and headaches. Chronic pain comes in two main varieties. The first, inflammatory pain, occurs when a persistent injury (e.g. a burn or arthritis) results in an enhanced sensitivity of pain-sensitive nerve endings, thus increasing the sensation of pain.

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