This Tiny Snail Is An Alternative To Opioids For Pain Relief

Posted: Feb 22 2017, 10:37am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
This Tiny Snail is an Alternative to Opioids for Pain Relief
The compound (RgIA) in the study was obtained from the venom of Conus regius, the royal cone. CREDIT: My Huynh
  • Chemical Compound derived from Marine Snails may serve as a Substitute for Opioids

A chemical compound derived from the bodies of snails may actually serve as a substitute for opioids. An immense source of pain relief is thus entirely possible in the near future.

A small-sized snail may offer a respite from pain for many who are afflicted with this curse. Researchers have discovered a compound that alters the pain signals by stopping them dead in their tracks along the nerve pathways.

While normally opiates are used to block pain messages along the brain and spinal cord, in this case an alternative route from that of opiates is taken by this snail-derived analgesic compound.

Furthermore, the benefits of this compound last long after it has left the body. Mice were used in the lab to observe the efficiency of this compound. The study was published in thr journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The current problem with opiates has reached pandemic levels. For one thing, they are extremely addictive. The chances of dying of an overdose are very high as well.

91 Americans pass away each day due to a larger than average dosage of opiates. Thus we see how the medical establishment is in search for alternatives to opiate-based pain relief pathways.

Nature is a grand pharmaceutical resource. Some of the compounds it manufactures, from a biochemical point of view, have surprising effects and may be used for a number of purposes.

Especially venoms may serve in small doses as the ideal antidote to chronic pain. The difference between a cure and a poison, as the saying goes, lies in the dosage.

Marine cone shells in the Caribbean Sea are often venomous in their nature. They paralyze their prey via a poisonous stinger. These snails’ venom is termed Rg1A and it relieves pain via a different pathway than opiates.

The most surprising thing about this snail poison is that it remains effective even after having been cleared from the system of the organism it is given to in microdoses.

Thus it is a tonic for this nervous system and makes it less sensitive to pain, pressure and general irritability. After Rg1A was tested in rodents in the lab, the scientists are now busy trying to develop a compound that would be suitable for usage in human beings.

Especially cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy may be in need of such compounds since their pain levels are at their peak during the course of the treatment.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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