Pain treatment using human stem cells a success – News – The University of Sydney

Posted: January 29, 2020 at 11:47 am

Chronic pain cost an estimated $139.3 billion in 2018. Image: iStock, Top image: Pexels

Researchers at the University of Sydney have used human stem cells to make pain-killing neurons that provide lasting relief in mice, without side effects, in a single treatment. The next step is to perform extensive safety tests in rodents and pigs, and then move to human patients suffering chronic pain within the next five years.

If the tests are successful in humans, it could be a major breakthrough in the development of new non-opioid, non-addictive pain management strategies for patients, the researchers said.

Thanks to funding from the NSW Ministry of Health, we are already moving towards testing in humans, said Professor Greg Neely, a leader in pain research at the Charles Perkins Centre and the School of Life and Environmental Sciences.

Nerve injury can lead to devastating neuropathic pain and for the majority of patients there are no effective therapies. This breakthrough means for some of these patients, we could make pain-killing transplants from their own cells, and the cells can then reverse the underlying cause of pain.

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Pain treatment using human stem cells a success - News - The University of Sydney

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