The discovery of a “Pain Gene” is bringing new possibilities and alternate ways for personalized pain treatment. The “Pain Gene” affects both pain sensitivity and pain susceptibility, reports a Psychiatric News alert on Dec. 11, 2012.
The “Pain Gene” was found on chromosome 2 by lead scientist, Kazutaka Ikeda, Ph.D., of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, and several Japanese scientists.
Lead scientist Kazutaka Ikeda is the Project Leader of Research Project for Addictive Substances at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science. When Kazutaka Ikeda was a graduate student at Niigata University School of Medicine, the “Pain Gene” project leader had participated in the cloning of cDNA from the NMDA receptor channel e4 subunit (GluN2D).
Kazutaka Ikeda’s research includes the brain’s reward system, animal models of mental disorders, human genetics, and addictive substances like opioids. Ikeda has served as an Executive Member of the Japanese Society of Neuropsychopharmacology (JSNP) since 2009 and has earned several outstanding awards during the past years. He was awarded the Japan Neuroscience Society Young Investigator Award in 2001, the Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Program Award from the United States National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2004, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Organization for Medical Research President’s Award in 2006.
The “Pain Gene” study on pain treatment conducted by Ikeda and other Japanese scientists was a genomewide association study of some 1,800 subjects.
The identified “Pain Gene” appears to be the most powerful gene associated with human opioid sensitivity that has been identified so far.
The “Pain Gene” project leader, Kazutaka Ikeda, Ph.D., of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, told Psychiatric News that, “We predict [before surgery] the right amount of opioid analgesic each patient will need postoperatively according to [the variant of the pain gene they possesss] together with other information about height, weight, gender, and pain sensitivity. Furthermore, we will apply the equation to predict the adequate amount of analgesic for cancer pain in the future.”
In the future, the new discovery of the “Pain Gene” can help patients who suffer from chronic pain. The new discovery of the “Pain Gene” will also help scientists to formulate new personalized pain treatment plans.
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