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U of T researcher discovers way to zip away chronic pain

New research released by a group of University of Toronto scientists suggests that a peptide inhibitor called ZIP could help alleviate certain kinds of chronic pain. As reported by HealthCanal.com the study could prove groundbreaking as chronic pain treatments to date remain insufficient or ineffective for many patients.

"The new research, led by Professor Min Zhuo of the University of Toronto's Department of Physiology and published in the current edition of the journal Science, explores the role that the protein kinase M zeta plays in storing "memories" of pain and therefore enhancing the sensation of pain. Blocking the effect of [the protein] through the use of a selective inhibitor called pseudosubstrate inhibitory peptide - or ZIP -- blocked behavioral sensitization and nerve injury related to chronic pain."

"Normal pain or physiological pain is an important warning signal to avoid potentially dangerous situations or environments. It is brief, and short-lasting. Chronic pain is different, as it persists for weeks, month or years due to spontaneous firing or overexcited pain-related neurons."

"What makes chronic pain difficult to treat is that these painful signals trigger long-term plastic changes in different cortical areas and form permanent bad 'memory'. It explains why the treatment ofchronic pain in areas like the spinal cord is often insufficient or ineffective," said Zhuo, the Canada Research Chair in Pain and Cognition."

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original source HealthCanal.com
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