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Adjustable Nerve Block

January 4, 2016

A high-tech injectable drug delivery system will allow patients to control their pain relief with near-infrared light.



High-tech pain relief. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

After an operation, many patients need medication to keep their pain in check. On-demand opioid analgesics can help, but they can sometimes have unwanted side-effects. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences proposes a high-tech alternative: tiny sacs filled with exotic pufferfish toxin that can be injected into painful areas under a patient’s skin. When exposed to near-infrared light, the sacs release the toxin, which acts as a potent painkiller. This according to Boston Children’s Hospital researcher Daniel Kohane.

DANIEL KOHANE (Boston Children’s Hospital):

Whenever the patient chose, they would take out a handheld device, and hold it over the part in the body where this local anesthetic has been injected and just basically shine the light until the pain goes away.


Kohane notes that human trials are still a few years away. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.