In Search of the Painkiller of the Future

Jülich neuroscientists are partners in a research project designed to improve the development of new pain medications

painkiller, Alzheimer's, Supercomputer

Big challenges must be mastered in the development of new drugs, especially in solutions for patients with previously untreatable pain: Complex disease mechanisms need to be elucidated and improved medicines developed. Neuroscientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich are involved in the project “Dual 2 PET – Development of PET Ligands to Demonstrate Dual Mechanisms of New Analgesics”, which aims to improve the development of new drugs with dual mechanisms of action against chronic pain that is difficult to treat. The State of North Rhine-Westphalia classified the project as worthy of support in the lead market competition “LifeSciences.NRW”, thus “Dual 2PET “for the next three years a donation of 2 million euros from the European Regional Development Fund and the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Forschungszentrum Jülich is represented in the consortium by three sections of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM): “Molecular Organization of the Brain”, “Nuclear Chemistry” and “Computational Biomedicine”, whose research is aimed at elucidating structures and functional changes in neurological and neurological diseases psychiatric disorders is dedicated to early diagnosis and therapy improvement. One focus is on the application of molecular imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET). The project is managed by the pharmaceutical manufacturer Grünenthal, another partner is the company Taros in Dortmund.

Across Europe, about 20% of all residents suffer from chronic, prolonged or recurrent pain, with about 60% of these chronic pain patients not satisfactorily treated with the currently available painkillers1. For an improved treatment of difficult-to-treat chronic pain innovative therapeutic approaches are required, which preferably allow the simultaneous treatment of several pathologically altered processes in the body. So-called multiple ligands, active substances with more than one active principle, are intended to remedy this. However, the development of drugs has so far failed often in the identification of multiple ligands and the high failure rates in the transition from the preclinical to the clinic. One way to detect the interaction of an active ingredient with the target structures is to use state-of-the-art imaging techniques such as PET. Thus, biological processes can be regularly examined quantitatively and non-invasively. The Dual 2 PET consortium aims to develop a novel method to demonstrate the interaction of a single substance with two specific targets in both animal and human populations.

Source : Forschungszentrum Jülich