A New Photo-Drug to Treat Pain Activated by Light

NDTV Food Desk  |  Updated: April 12, 2017 13:08 IST

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A New Photo-Drug to Treat Pain Activated by Light
Highlights
  • The first light-activated drug to treat pain has been created
  • It makes use of light to control the activity of the drugs
  • The study which was published in the journal eLife
There’s nothing more miraculous than being able to cure pain easily and effectively. A team of researchers have developed the first light-activated drug to treat pain. The study which was published in the journal eLife and conducted by the Neurosciences of the University of Barcelona aims to overcome the problems faced with the uses and effects of current drugs such as slow and inexact distribution of the drug, lack of spatiotemporal traits in the organism and difficulties in the dose adjustments.

Optopharmacology is an emerging field of medicine that makes use of light to control the activity of the drugs. It primarily consists of making compounds reach their target with the help of light activation and thus, regulating the activity in space and time. By using light on a photosensitive drug, the pharmacological process can be controlled with spatial and temporal precision.

The new "photo-drug" that has been created has powerful therapeutic applications to treat pain where a molecule can be specifically activated at any given time with the help of light. This is the first time a light-activated drug has been designed to improve pain treatment or any disease associated with the nervous system. The experiments were conducted using an animal model.
 
study

In this new optopharmacology proposal, a drug with a known action mechanism is chemically modified to make it photosensitive and inactive.  It gets activated when it receives light using an optical fiber keeping in mind the target tissues.Read also: (Back Pain Again? Here's Why Pain-killers May Not Help)

CommentsIt has been called the Photocaged and it is a chemically inactive molecule which is activated with light. This simply means that the molecule that has no pharmacological effect on the tissues until the target tissue receives light from a visible spectrum. Moreover, it did not show any toxic or unwanted effects even when high doses were administered which has been tested in short-length studies on animals. The new kind of molecule is very different from the classic anti-pain drugs that are currently available.
 

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Tags:  PainDrugs

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