Two major discoveries made by Yves De Koninck and his team in 2013, which built on previous important discoveries from his laboratory, could bring relief to patients suffering from chronic pain and could even further our understanding of other neurological diseases, such as epilepsy, anxiety and even schizophrenia. This work is recognized as one the top 10 scientific discoveries of 2013 by Le Soleil newspaper.
Dr. Yves De Koninck and his team showed, early in 2013, that one of the paradoxical effects of morphine, which can cause hyperalgesia - increased pain sensitivity - is caused by a disruption in chloride ion levels in cells. This work showed that this negative side effect was distinct from the positive, pain reducing effects of morphine, and that it could be possible to identify molecules that block hyperalgesia without reducing the efficacy of morphine. This work, published in Nature Neuroscience, has been recognized as one the most important discoveries of 2013 by Québec Science and the Pain Research Forum (see previous news item).
The team then identified, later in 2013, a molecule that could specifically affect chloride ion transport out of cells, without many side effects. This latest discovery opens the door to the development of a new class of drugs that could be used to treat chronic pain and a variety of other neurological diseases that also disrupt chloride ion levels in cells. This discovery was published in Nature Medicine.
Taken together, these discoveries will lead to the development of new weapons in the fight against chronic pain.
Read the article by Jean-François Cliche in Le Soleil (in French only).