HSV vectors: approaches to the treatment of chronic pain

Published on August 5, 2014   38 min

Other Talks in the Category: Diseases, Disorders & Treatments

0:00
My name is Joe Glorioso. I'm a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And I've been working for the last approximately 30 years to develop gene delivery systems based on herpes simplex virus. And I'll be talking about the application of a new generation of viral vectors for the treatment of chronic pain.
0:25
So what is pain, exactly? Everybody knows it's an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, which is adaptive, meaning that it protects you from further damage or potential damage. And the way pain is detected is through a process called nociception. Nociception is the sensory component of pain, and it involves the peripheral sensory nerves that detect pain signals to deliver these messages to the brain. So pain perception is a cognitive function. It's the combination of nociception and brain activity. Chronic pain, on the other hand, is not adaptive. It's a pathological state of peripheral nerves that can be caused by injury or inflammation, arthritis, cancer, or nerve damage due to neuropathy or injury. And it has a broad penetrance into the population. There are more Americans that experience chronic pain at some times in their lives than those with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined.
1:28
So how does the pain pathway work? Well, it turns out that there are, in the dorsal root ganglia which align the spinal cord, as well as the trigeminal ganglia in the face-- these have special sensory fibers called C fibers or A delta fibers. And C fibers are mostly non-myelinated, whereas, A delta fibers are myelinated. And these are the nerve fibers that receive pain signals, which can be mechanical pressure, or extreme temperatures-- hot and cold-- or caustic chemicals, or inflammatory processes, and so on. And these signals activate receptors on the cells that create an action potential. And this delivers neurotransmitters to second order neurons in the spinal cord. And these pain signals are delivered up through the spinal cord into the cortex. And it involves three orders of neurons-- primary afferents, second order neurons, and third order neurons. So the first pain responses are rapid pain. This is delivered by A delta fibers, whereas, long-lasting chronic pain responses are thought to involve mostly C fibers.
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HSV vectors: approaches to the treatment of chronic pain

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