Julius’s work revealed that TRPV1, an ion-channel expressed, in particular, in primary afferent neurons, respond to potentially pain-inducing stimuli such as capsaicin in “hot” peppers and temperatures above 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The TRPV1 channel also mediates the hypersensitivity to heat developed in injured tissue, such as sunburned skin, where mild stimuli can be perceived by the brain as burning hot.
This year´s Nobel Prize is exciting news for Oblique Therapeutics and highlights the importance of our work in developing novel antibody-based medicines intended for treatment of chronic pain. Indeed, at Oblique Therapeutics, TRPV1 is one of our areas of expertise and we are developing in collaboration with a Big Pharma company, a stimuli-selective antibody with the purpose of ameliorating pain without affecting the heat sensitivity of TRPV1. Previous drug candidates (small molecules) targeting TRPV1 have exhibited severe heat-related side effects observed in clinic.
Treatment of chronic pain remains a large unmet medical need and only one out of four patients suffering from pain receive adequate relief by the current unspecific analgesic small molecule-based pharmaceuticals, such as morphine derivatives. Novel specific drugs with a greater efficacy and less side effects are needed. Antibody therapeutics have a high probability to provide the solution to the need for new pain medicines
Additionally, Oblique’s and Karolinska Institutet’s scientists, involving @Owe Orwar, @Carolina Trkulja and @Kent Jardemark, have made important contributions to understand functional and mechanistic aspects of the TRPV1 ion channel.