http://neurosciencenews.com/nav17-genet ... ence-3216/Revealing the Secret to a Pain Free Life
People born with a rare genetic mutation are unable to feel pain, but previous attempts to recreate this effect with drugs have had surprisingly little success. Using mice modified to carry the same mutation, UCL researchers funded by the MRC and Wellcome Trust have now discovered the recipe for painlessness.
An article worthy of the read. I knew that such people existed because I saw it on an episode of House.
What I didn't know was that such people are not otherwise numb; they can feel touch just fine. They just don't have 'pain' channels.
So they found this lady having said mutation and gave her a naloxone-type drug and she felt pain for the first time in her life (other reports suggest she 'enjoyed' the experience). For those not in the know, naloxone is the stuff they give folks that OD on heroin. It instantly blocks the opioid effect and, bam! , instant withdrawals.
So, the nut of it is ...
“Used in combination with Nav1.7 blockers, the dose of opioid needed to prevent pain is very low,” explains Professor Wood. “People with non-functioning Nav1.7 produce low levels of opioids throughout their lives without developing tolerance or experiencing unpleasant side-effects. We hope to see our approach tested in human trials by 2017 and we can then start looking into drug combinations to help the millions of chronic pain patients around the world.”
So in a couple of years, perhaps we'll see an end to prescription opioids and maybe others can finally get some safe, long lasting, non-addictive relief.