Gleevec variation prevents morphine tolerance in chronic pain patients

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The incredible breakthrough blockbuster leukemia drug Gleevec has saved tens of thousands of lives over the last decade or so, turning chronic myeloid leukemia into a manageable disease, whereas it used to be a death sentence.

Now, researchers at the Departments of Anesthesiology/Perioperative Medicine and Biochemistry at MD Anderson believe they have found another very useful application of Gleevec-- preventing tolerance in morphine patients.

Despite the development of other narcotic agents, morphine remains the gold standard for pain control and management. Unfortunately over time tolerance develops and the drug becomes ineffective.

According to the study published online in Nature Medicine, researchers have found a cellular signal that selectively causes narcotic tolerance. Using a reformulated version of Gleevec, researchers were able to prevent tolerance from developing in mice models, and even reverse it in morphine-tolerant mice.

Said one researcher, "By suggesting a way to prevent or reverse tolerance in patients, this study could have far-reaching implications for many people suffering with chronic intractable pain," including cancer patients.

Source: Medical News Today

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