Scientists in Sweden Create a GABA Pump for Chronic Pain and More

Discussion in 'Research News' started by Silvio Sabo, Dec 13, 2015.

    1. Silvio Sabo

      Silvio Sabo Member Benefactor

      Gothenburg, Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise - I think
      Scientists in Sweden have created a biodegradable pump that can be surgically inserted in an area and pump ions of GABA. They have developed it for treatment of chronic pain but on the page in Swedish they are also mentioning that it might be able to use it to treat other conditions in the brain such as epilepsy.

      GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that calms excited neurons and also plays a big role in tinnitus. My guess is that if it works for epilepsy and chronic pain it will most probably also work for tinnitus.

      The aim is that the pump can be inserted and then pump GABA to a targeted area for a longer period of time, up to several years.

      So far they have done pre-clinical trials in rats. The next step is to adapt the pump for use in humans. That is estimated to take about 1 year and then clinical trials can begin. From that point it's another 5-10 years to market.

      I know that this is a long time but if they manage to pull this off then this might be the winner!

      I'm also thinking that the pump can be modified to pump whatever drug one wants eventually. That is if GABA is not successful. But just being able to target specific areas is a big break through!

      Many drugs provide their therapeutic action only at specific sites in the body, but are administered in ways that cause the drug’s spread throughout the organism. This can lead to serious side effects. Local delivery from an implanted device may avoid these issues, especially if the delivery rate can be tuned according to the need of the patient. We turned to electronically and ionically conducting polymers to design a device that could be implanted and used for local electrically controlled delivery of therapeutics. The conducting polymers in our device allow electronic pulses to be transduced into biological signals, in the form of ionic and molecular fluxes, which provide a way of interfacing biology with electronics. Devices based on conducting polymers and polyelectrolytes have been demonstrated in controlled substance delivery to neural tissue, biosensing, and neural recording and stimulation. While providing proof of principle of bioelectronic integration, such demonstrations have been performed in vitro or in anesthetized animals. Here, we demonstrate the efficacy of an implantable organic electronic delivery device for the treatment of neuropathic pain in an animal model. Devices were implanted onto the spinal cord of rats, and 2 days after implantation, local delivery of the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) was initiated. Highly localized delivery resulted in a significant decrease in pain response with low dosage and no observable side effects. This demonstration of organic bioelectronics-based therapy in awake animals illustrates a viable alternative to existing pain treatments, paving the way for future implantable bioelectronic therapeutics.

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    2. DebInAustralia
      No Mood

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      May still have issue of down regulating gaba receptors however..
    3. nimx

      nimx Member

      Doesn't sound good to me!
      About pain, international guidelines suggest that prior to use of any drug, an holistic (scientific, not new age!) approach should be attempted. Re-organization of central sensitivity in pain is usually possible with a good success rate using mind body techniques which has been proven to lower neuronal excitability and better outcomes and managing eventual residual symptoms with lower doses of meds. This desensitization approach is based on the kind of issue, for chronic pain it is usually, if I recall correctly, moderate physical activity, touch retraining, psychological restructuring (emotional reaction and thinking catastrophizing alters neuronal excitability of course), plus relaxing techniques and low dose meds. This usually leads to a positive turn in neuroplasticity (opposed to a negative turn in neuroplasticity when pain is chronic and continue to sensitize the neural pathway, well this also happens for issues like depression, addiction, behviour, skills, the more you use it the more it strenghten). Also, I would be very cautious about a "gaba pump", it is enought to look at the burden that can bring the long-term use of benzodiazepines that work by augmentation of gaba.
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