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Nanomedicine: A Better Alternative For Chronic Pain

The excessive use of an opioid for treating severe chronic pain results in increasing death rate. So, there is a need for some better and non-addictive medicine with minimum or no side effects.

Jelena Janjic, co-director and founder of the Chronic Pain Research Consortium at Duquesne University, is herself a patient of the severe chronic syndrome. She has done research on the delivery of non-opioid medication through the patient’s own immune system. The medicine needs to be entrapped in nanoparticles and injected into the patient. These nanoparticles would then travel through the body and target the inflammatory part, relieving the pain.

In 2010, Janjic got diagnosed with the chronic pain syndrome, for which the doctors gave her the pain-relieving medicines. She was becoming incapable of remembering things. But she wanted to find some more effective medical solution to this problem. She decided to find other ways of treatment without taking opioids.

After studying a lot of scientific literature she came to the point that acute pain is most probably linked to inflammation. The main cause of inflammation may be some sort of injury or infection. At the area of inflammation, the immune cells are highly active; some cells are trying to repair the infected part and other cells cause pain by stimulating the nerve cells in a particular body part.

The intensity and location of pain vary in chronic pain syndrome, hence no medicines are available at present, which can be effective for such diverse pain.

Before dealing with pain research, Janjic was doing research on Cancer nanomedicine. The anti-cancer drug was put in nanoparticles and injected in the cancer patients. The nanoparticles targeted the immune cells reaching the cancer cells-affected area and showed effective results.

From the above research, she got an idea and the researchers tried to replace the anti-cancer drug with pain-relieving medicine for making pain-relieving nanomedicines. The in-vivo experiments done on rats by injecting anti-inflammatory and non-steroidal drug in the form of nanoparticles reduced the pain in rats.

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