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Pest control research leads to pain control discovery

A newly discovered enzyme inhibitor, identified by researchers originally looking for biological pest controls, may lead to pain relief for sufferers of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, say researchers at the University of California, Davis. The finding, hailed by a noted inflammatory disease expert "as the most important discovery in inflammation in more than a decade," may also reduce side effects associated with the painkiller, Vioxx.

Lead author Kara Schmelzer, a post-doctoral researcher in principal investigator Bruce Hammock's lab, tested the novel compounds on rodents and found them to be as potent at a low-dose as Vioxx and Celebrex, but without the changes in blood chemistry linked to heart attacks. Vioxx and Celebrex belong to a class of drugs known as Cox-2 inhibitors. The enzyme targeted by the newly discovered inhibitors is also found in humans. (Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions.)

"The reason this is so exciting is that this is a novel way to reduce inflammation, with a combination therapy," Schmelzer said. "We're going after a new enzyme target, not going after the Cox-2 inhibitors."

Their research is reported in a paper entitled "Enhancement of Antinociception by Coadministration of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase Inhibitors," published in the current edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Our laboratory was initially interested in regulating the development of insect larvae," said Hammock, a distinguished professor of entomology and member of the National Academy of Sciences. The discovery switched the focus of the research from "pest control to pain control."

M. Eric Gershwin, chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the UC Davis School of Medicine and a distinguished professor of medicine, called the discovery "the most important discovery in inflammation in more than a decade." Gershwi
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Source:University of California - Davis


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