Boston, MA -- A U.S.-Chile collaboration is bringing surgical patients closer to having a long-acting local anesthetic. In a randomized, double-blind trial, patients given neosaxitoxin, a new local anesthetic derived from algae, had significantly less postoperative pain and recovered about two days sooner than those given the commonly used local anesthetic bupivacaine. Based on this finding, Children's Hospital Boston, a co-investigator on the study, has signed a collaboration agreement with biotech start-up company Proteus SA (Santiago, Chile) to move the new anesthetic toward clinical adoption.
Tens of millions of patients have operations requiring local anesthesia each year. Current local anesthetics act for less than 8 hours; when they wear off, patients generally need opioid analgesics, which cause substantial side effects, including nausea, sedation, shallow breathing, sleepiness, constipation and itching. These side effects often delay recovery and can result in prolonged hospitalization.
Neosaxitoxin (neoSTX) provides local anesthesia for more than 24 hours. It is a site 1 sodium-channel blocker, part of a larger class of emerging anesthetics based on molecules derived from aquatic organisms.
"In my opinion, there has not been a truly innovative new local anesthetic medication in the last 40 to 50 years," notes study coauthor Charles Berde, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Pain Medicine at Children's Hospital Boston. "Most drugs introduced over that time period have represented only minimal advances. There have been candidate drugs that went in novel directions, but they've had shortcomings, and none have made it to market."
The neoSTX trial, the first of its kind, involved 137 Chilean patients having laparoscopic removal of their gall bladders. As reported in the March-April issue of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, significantly fewer patients randomized to neoSTX reported severe postoperative pain
|Contact: Erin McColgan|
Children's Hospital Boston