Researchers at the University of California San Diego, USA, have created a gene therapy for chronic pain without apparent side effects.
Using gene editing tools - CRISPR and zinc fingers – on mice, the team ‘silenced’ a gene involved in sensing pain.
Zinc fingers is an older technique than CRISPR to edit the genome.
The findings, published in the Science Translational Medicine, revealed that an injection of the gene-silencing treatment increased pain tolerance in mice, reduced their sensitivity to pain and provided months of pain relief.
“What’s also cool is that this gene is only involved in pain. There aren’t any severe side effects observed with this mutation,” said first author of the study Ana Moreno.
To develop this approach, their have founded a spinoff company - Navega Therapeutics - which is now preparing tests in monkeys to assess safety and efficacy.