07:59am Monday 23 October 2017

Pain Relievers without Dangerous Side Effects

Scientists from Freie Universität Berlin and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin Develop New Active Ingredient

Scientists from Freie Universität Berlin and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin at Campus Benjamin Franklin have developed a new class of pain medication. Using new chemical synthesis methods, the conventional pain medication morphine was coupled to carrier molecules, so-called nanocarriers. Their bond is only broken in the target tissue, in the case of injuries in the inflamed environment, so the morphine cannot cause side effects in healthy tissues such as the brain or the intestinal wall. The research findings were published in the latest issue of the science journal eLife.

Opioids are strong pain-killing substances. They are used in particular for pain caused by injuries to tissues and inflammation, for example, after operations or to treat arthritis or tumors. Common, sometimes dangerous, side effects include dizziness, nausea, constipation, or even respiratory arrest. By means of innovative chemical synthesis methods, carried out by scientists in the group of Prof. Dr. Rainer Haag at the Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Freie Universität Berlin, the team of researchers was able to develop a new class of molecules. Working in collaboration with the group led by Prof. Dr. Christoph Stein at the Department of Anesthesiology and Operative Intensive Care Medicine at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, they were able to prove that the newly developed polymer conjugate “polyglycerol morphine” only took effect in inflamed tissues, which eliminates the risk of dangerous side effects.

The research project was funded by the Nanoscale Focus Area at Freie Universität and the Helmholtz Virtual Institute “Multifunctional Biomaterials for Medicine.”

The company DendroPharm, a spin-off of Freie Universität, is planning to develop drugs for human and animal medicine that are based on the new technology.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Publication

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.27081

Contact

  • Prof. Dr. Christoph Stein, Director, Department of Anesthesiology and Operative Intensive Care Medicine, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Tel.: +49 30 450-551522, Email: Christoph.Stein@charite.de
  • Prof. Dr. Rainer Haag, Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-61958 (sec.), Email: haag@chemie.fu-berlin.de
  • Dr. Sam Dylan Moré, Managing Director, DendroPharm, Tel.: +49 30 405-28866, Email: sam.more@dendropharm.de

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