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New long-acting local anesthetic derived from algae effectively blocks pain in surgical patients
Date:2/23/2011

at the incision site at both 12 hours (4 vs. 18 percent) and 24 hours (6 vs. 16 percent). Significantly more neoSTX-treated patients had complete absence of pain at 12 hours, both at rest (88 vs. 69 percent) and with movement (80 vs. 60 percent). Patients in the neoSTX group reported a full functional recovery approximately 2 days earlier. No serious adverse reactions occurred in either group.

The trial was a three-part effort led by first author Alberto Rodrguez-Navarro, MD, at Padre Hurtado Hospital (Santiago, Chile); a clinical-academic team led by Berde; and a pharmaceutical development team led by Luis Novoa, CEO of Proteus SA. "As a surgeon who specializes in abdominal surgery, I think that the future of pain treatment will benefit greatly from this type of multidisciplinary collaboration," says Rodrguez-Navarro.

The Chilean and American investigators met through their scientific publications. Berde and Daniel Kohane, MD, PhD, a clinician-researcher in Critical Care Medicine at Children's, had studied site 1 sodium-channel blockers derived from marine toxins for more than a decade. Their work in rats showed that the compounds lack the side effects of existing anesthetics and opioid analgesics. They are not addictive, have no cardiac toxicity and don't cross the blood-brain barrier, thus avoiding the risk of seizures occasionally seen with existing local anesthetics. They also cause minimal local tissue reaction, avoiding the nerve and muscle damage seen with high concentrations of existing local anesthetics.

Meanwhile, in Chile, Rodrguez-Navarro had published work examining the anesthetic potential of neoSTX, derived from local algae.

The scientists at Proteus have developed expertise in extracting, culturing and purifying large amounts of neoSTX from freshwater microalgae, and formulating the compound for medical use. The planned clinical studies at Children's, hoped to begin this year, will look for optimal doses that
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Contact: Erin McColgan
erin.mccolgan@childrens.harvard.edu
617-919-3110
Children's Hospital Boston
Source:Eurekalert

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