In recent years, there’s been a push by pharma to find nonaddictive pain therapies. In 2006, scientists described the curious case of a Pakistani boy who seemed immune to pain. It was discovered that the SCN9A gene provides instructions for making a “sodium channel” found in nerve cells that transmits pain signals to the brain, acting like a volume knob for pain. Now, a biotech startup wants to mimic this mutation to treat people with chronic pain using CRISPR. Dr. Rajesh Khanna, UArizona Pharmacology professor and BIO5 member who specializes in the study of chronic pain, weighs in on the research surrounding the Nav1.7 channel and use of CRISPR therapy.
CRISPR Could Switch Off Chronic Pain Without Opioids