On October 23, Ted Cummins gave a talk on the promise of voltage-gated sodium channels as analgesic targets. After his talk, there was a panel discussion featuring:
- David Hackos, Genentech, South San Francisco, US
- Christine Sang, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, US
- Sulayman Dib-Hajj, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, US (moderator)
Here is a summary of Cummins’ talk:
Pain impacts many individuals, adversely affecting their quality of life. Hyperexcitability of peripheral sensory neurons contributes to acute and chronic, inflammatory and neuropathic, and inherited and acquired pain syndromes. Because voltage-gated sodium currents are crucial to the generation and propagation of action potentials in peripheral nerve fibers that transmit nociceptive information to the CNS, the channels that underlie these currents are attractive targets for pain therapeutics. However, voltage-gated sodium channels are also crucial to the excitability of most neurons and muscle. As a result, drugs that broadly target sodium currents can reduce activity in nociceptors and pain pathways, but can also induce adverse effects in other excitable tissue. A large body of research has shown that sodium currents and channels in peripheral sensory neurons are complex, and this complexity might be exploited to preferentially target nociceptor activity. In this webinar, we will review 1) what is known about voltage-gated sodium channels in peripheral sensory neurons; 2) how unusual sodium currents in nociceptors contribute to pain; 3) why these peripheral sodium channels and currents are attractive targets; and 4) discuss potential strategies for preferentially targeted voltage-gated sodium channels in nociceptive neurons.
“Targeting Unusual Voltage-Gated Sodium Currents for Pain Therapy” is the 10th in a new series of PRF webinars supported by Genentech and MedImmune, with additional site support from other PRF sponsors. All webinars and other site content on PRF are editorially independent; all editorial decisions are made solely by the PRF editors. See previous PRF webinars here.