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Characterizing A New Biological Therapy For Treating

Trigeminal Neuralgia

 

by Robert M. Caudle, Ph.D.

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

University of Florida

Trigeminal Neuralgia is a devastating disease that is poorly controlled with current therapies. Tegretol is partially effective in some patients and vascular decompression surgery provides a bit of relief for others.

However, most patients do not find these therapies sufficiently effective because the root cause of Trigeminal Neuralgia is not known. It is difficult to address the underlying etiology with novel therapies.

We, however, have identified neurotransmitter systems on the trigeminal neurons that transmit the pain signals from the face to the brain. The receptors in the neurotransmitter systems offer unique targets for delivering biological agents that alter the function of the neurons. Although this form of therapy does not attack the cause of the disease, we can exploit these receptors to disrupt the transmission of pain to provide relief to the patients.

 We have constructed a novel biological agent that can prevent the transmission of pain signals through trigeminal neurons that express the receptors associated with a specific neurotransmitter system.

Preliminary studies have demonstrated that the agent targets the appropriate neurons and that it retains its biological activity for at least 24 hours following uptake by the neurons. We expect that the agent will be functional for up to three months following administration.

In this project we will be scaling up production of the agent and conducting rodent studies to determine if the agent blocks pain from nerve injury as predicted. We will also evaluate the most appropriate route of administration, the dose, and the duration of action of the agent to optimize the therapy protocol. These studies are expected to provide the basis for initiating human clinical trials to develop this agent as a therapy for Trigeminal Neuralgia.

 

Note: The Facial Pain Research Foundation’s Board of Trustees is committed to funding Dr. Caudle’s research  project described above.  Start date of the project is June 1, 2019 and the first phase is to be completed within twelve months.

   
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