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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.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

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.

HIRSHON:

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