In a paper published in Nature Communications, researchers at the Institute for Neurosciences in Montpelier, France, have revealed the role played in causing neuropathic pain of a molecule known as FLT3. This molecule is produced in the stem cells that produce blood cells.
Following trauma or disease, neuropathic pain may be caused by nerve lesions in the peripheral nervous system. In this recent study it was shown that immune cells contained in blood at the site of nerve lesions produce another molecule known as FL. FL then binds with and ‘switches on’ FLT3, activating a chain reaction in the nervous system, resulting in and maintaining pain.
Once the researchers understood the role played by FLT3, they were able to create an anti-FLT3 molecule which targets the site where the FL and FLT3 bind together, blocking the connection and preventing the chain reaction. Tested on mice, the symptoms of neuropathic pain were reduced within 3 hours of the anti-FLT3 molecule being administered and the effect lasted for 48 hours.
As a result of these findings a new company, BIODOL Therapeutics, has been formed to further develop this treatment, which would be the first specific neuropathic pain treatment to reach the market.
Whilst it remains early days, BIODOL say that following further development they will be looking “to negotiate a partnership with a pharmaceutical company for continuing clinical development to launching. BIODOL Therapeutics’ aim is to out-license its complementary programs (intra- and extracellular strategies) at the end of phases I or II of clinical trials to pharmaceutical groups able to run late stage clinical development so as to market specific NP-treatments.”
More specific detail is understandably limited at this stage, but BIODOL’s website suggests that they are looking to develop an oral formulation and that side-effects are hoped to be “limited and non-clinically significiant”.