Scientists discover non-addictive painkiller
Washington: Scientists have found a non-addictive painkiller to help fight the current opioid crisis, though in an animal model.
Known as AT-121, the new chemical compound has a dual therapeutic action that suppressed the addictive effects of opioids and produced morphine-like analgesic effects in non-human primates.
“In our study, we found AT-121 to be safe and non-addictive, as well as an effective pain medication,” said Mei-Chuan Ko, Ph.D., professor of physiology and pharmacology at the School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
The main objective of this study was to design and test a chemical compound that would work on both the mu opioid receptor, the main component in the most effective prescription painkillers, and the nociceptin receptor, which opposes or blocks the abuse and dependence-related side effects of mu-targeted opioids.
In the study, the researchers observed that AT-121 showed the same level of pain relief as an opioid, but at a 100-times lower dose than morphine. At that dose, it also blunted the addictive effects of oxycodone, a commonly abused prescription drug.
The bifunctional profile of AT-121 not only gave effective pain relief without abuse potential, it also lacked other opioid side-effects that patients typically struggle with, such as itch, respiratory depression, tolerance and dependence.
Next steps include conducting additional preclinical studies to collect more safety data, and then if all goes well, applying to the Food and Drug Administration for approval to begin clinical trials in people, Ko said.
The full findings are present in the journal- Science Translational Medicine.
Women's Bladder Not Sterile, Contains Bacteria: Study
In a breakthrough, US researchers have found that women's bladder is not a sterile place and can contain both beneficial and deadly bacteria, a finding that could lead to better diagnostic tests for urinary tract infections (UTI).
The findings debunked the common belief that urine in healthy women is sterile and showed that that bacteria is "shared" between the bladder and vagina and the microbiota includes pathogens such as E. coli and S. anginosus as well as beneficial bacteria such as L.iners and L.crispatus.
The beneficial bacteria residing in both the bladder and vagina could provide protection against urinary infections.
"Now that we know the bladder is not sterile, we have to re-evaluate everything we thought we knew about the bladder, and that is what we are doing," said Alan J. Wolfe, microbiologist at the Loyola University Chicago.
This insight "should alter the way we view the bacteria of the female pelvic floor both by enabling further research and by providing new diagnostic and treatment options for urinary tract infections, urgency urinary incontinence and other associated urinary tract disorders," the researchers noted.
For the study, published in Nature Communications, the team sequenced the genes of 149 bacterial strains from nearly 100 women.
While the microbiota (community of microorganisms) found in the bladder and vagina were similar, they were markedly distinct from the microbiota found in the gastrointestinal tract.
It appears that bacteria travel between the bladder and the vagina, effectively creating one microbiota niche.
Urination provides an obvious way for bacteria to travel from the bladder to the vagina.
But it's a mystery how bacteria could travel from the vagina to the bladder, especially since most of the bacteria examined in the study lack features such as flagella (whip-like structures) or pili (grappling hooks) that would enable them to move, the researchers said.
Hey Sanju, This New Therapy Could Help Combat Drug Addiction
Researchers have developed a treatment that may help reverse chemical imbalances made to the brain by habitual drug use and could one day help recovering drug addicts avoid future drug use. When tested on rats, the new treatment was effective in reducing the animals' cravings, according to the findings published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
When someone habitually misuses drugs, their brain chemistry is changed in ways that make it harder for them to quit taking drugs despite negative consequences. Once someone has developed this brain disorder, their mind pays sharper attention to cues that encourage drug use, making it harder for them to abstain. Serotonin, a brain chemical that transmits information between neural regions, is a key player in these changes.
The researchers found that the serotonin 2C receptors in drug addicts do not work as well as they should.
The team led by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in the US designed, synthesised and pharmacologically evaluated a series of small molecule therapeutics designed to restore the weakened signalling. The findings showed that the novel therapeutic may help reverse chemical imbalances made to the brain by habitual drug use.
In their experiment, the researchers trained rats to press on a lever for cocaine infusions at certain light cues. Once the rats learned this cocaine-seeking behaviour, half of them received the most promising therapeutic and the other half received only saline.
The findings showed that the animals treated with the new therapeutic pressed the lever for cocaine far fewer times than the saline-treated control animals, even when reinforced with the cocaine-associated light cues. "We are the first to show that a serotonin 2C receptor therapeutic of this type can be successfully used to decrease drug-seeking behaviours," said Kathryn Cunningham, Director of Center for Addiction Research at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
"Our findings are especially exciting because in addition to someday helping people to recover from drug addiction, impaired functioning of the serotonin 2C receptor is also thought to contribute to other chronic health issues such as depression, impulsivity disorders, obesity and schizophrenia," Cunningham added.