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Pain Roundup

August 27, 2010

Researchers have developed a pill from the saliva of venomous sea snails that could be used to treat chronic pain.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
The key to chronic pain. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Doctors know how to numb the pain of a wound, but are stymied by chronic pain that goes on for long periods and has no obvious source. A study in the journal Genome Research may provide some answers. Scientists identified a single gene on chromosome 15 in mice that was associated with chronic pain. They then looked at human breast cancer patients with long-term pain, and found that the same gene was anomalous in them. The researchers say 20% of adults experience some form of chronic pain; this new finding offers hope for some relief.

In other pain research, scientists in Australia have developed a pain-killing pill from the saliva of venomous sea snails. They say the drug is as effective as morphine, without being addictive. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.