Sodium channels and pain

Published on January 26, 2009   40 min

Other Talks in the Therapeutic Area: Neurology

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My name is Steve Waxman. I work at Yale University, and one of my major interests is the role of sodium channels and other ion channels in neuropathic pain.
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This slide shows a case history from an individual with neuropathic pain. It represents a significant unmet medical need in the United States, and in every nation. Tommy was a highly decorated police officer. He had received a number of commendations for his work, an absolutely exemplary worker. And then, he sustained a gunshot wound, which injured his radial nerve. He was left with sensory loss in a motor deficit, but what debilitated him was severe neuropathic pain. As you can see from this slide, he didn't respond or responded minimally, to a large number of medications. He had some relief, but it was only partial, with carbamazepine, a lidocaine patch, they're both sodium channel blockers, and with opiates. And Tommy is followed by a consortium of a neurologist, a pain specialist, and a psychiatrist. But he remains disabled, unable to work because of his neuropathic pain. And so it's incumbent on us to understand neuropathic pain, and to develop new, more effective medications. As I said, this is a significant unmet medical need.