Researcher Receives $375,000 to Study Bowel Disease Pain-Relief

Published on: 2019/09/04 - in Science & Tech

Queen’s University and the Kingston Health Sciences Centre clinician-scientist Stephen Vanner will lead a three-year research project to determine the effectiveness of new opioid drugs in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) following a grant from Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.

Opioid drugs are currently the most effective treatment for the abdominal pain experienced by IBD patients, however they can have significant side effects. The $375,000 grant will fund early-stage laboratory research investigating the delivery of these opioids ‘to specific targets in pain-sensing nerves to reduce pain while mitigating side effects of opioids’, according to a KGH Research Institute article.

One of the drugs to be studied inhibits pain-sensing nerves in a unique way that leads to sustained pain relief, the article continues, while another drug targets only nerves in inflamed tissues.

“These particular drugs should have no effect on normal tissues, so they could limit or even prevent side effects,” said Dr. Vanner, Director of the Gastrointestinal Diseases Research Unit at Kingston Health Sciences Centre and a professor of the Queen’s School of Medicine. “If these approaches work, the next step could be clinical trials in patients.”

This new research follows significant earlier IBD research by Dr. Vanner’s team into pain-signalling pathways that indicate these treatments could be effective.

Learn more at the KGH Research Institute website.

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