In this episode of Causes or Cures, Dr. Eeks chats with Dr. Raj Khanna, director of NYU's Pain Research Center and professor of molecular pathobiology at NYU School of Dentistry, about his and his team's new research on potential future ways to tackle chronic pain. Given that chronic pain is a growing issue that impacts people of all ages and that there really are no good, long-term, reliable solutions out there, this is a key area of research. Without reliable, long-term solutions from conventional medicine and therapies, many suffering from chronic pain seek out more alternative and unconventional approaches to find some relief. This is an especially timely topic given the ongoing US opioid epidemic.
In the podcast, Dr. Khanna starts with the basics and defines chronic pain and its causes. He describes his and his team's research and why a "special" sodium channel and a "special" protein that regulates this sodium channel are important when it comes to regulating chronic pain. He explains how he and his team used gene therapy to influence the interaction of the "special" protein and sodium channel, tested their hypothesis in animals and cells, and the results and outcomes related to chronic pain. Towards the end of the podcast, he discusses if the field may move towards replacing animals in research with other ways to test treatments, alternative approaches to chronic pain, and what the future of chronic pain treatment may look like.
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