“Pain relief without addiction” — It’s the vision of Blue Therapeutics, a Harvard startup, that says it is developing a revolutionary new painkiller that is stronger than morphine and non-habit forming.
Response to Opioid Crisis
Blue Therapeutics founders — Ajay Yekkirala, Michio Painter and David Roberson — say they got serious about their mission as the prescription opioid addiction crisis exploded in Massachusetts and across the rest of the U.S.
“An important element of the addiction problem we’re facing is the prevalence of pain,” said Roberson. “Pain is the most common reason people seek health care, and the most prescribed medications are painkillers. Pain is a big problem that must be addressed. The opioids that are currently widely used are addictive, but they’re also the most effective compounds to treat pain.”
In a nutshell: Health care providers are using the best medications available to manage their patients’ pain. Unfortunately, the best painkillers also carry a serious risk of dependence.
‘Pleasure Centers’ Denied by New Painkiller
Blue Therapeautics says its painkiller will be an agonist for a type of opioid receptor that differs from the kind that traditional opioids use. These new receptors aren’t present in our brains’ “pleasure centers” – unlike the receptors that are currently being targeted with medications like oxycodone. At the same time, Blue Therapeutics’ compound will act as an antagonist to the types of receptors that are found in pleasure centers. Basically, their drug will ensure pain is being relieved, but that no pleasure is being chemically produced in the process.
Still in its early developmental stages, Blue Therapeutics is actively fundraising so it can conduct the required FDA studies that would allow the company to run clinical trials. Stay tuned…
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