We here at Medgadget have always realized the medical potential of creepy bugs that tend to scare the willies off of grandma. So it comes as no surprise to us that yet another potential medical breakthrough is being attributed to ‘Class Insecta’. From a UC Davis press release:
A newly discovered enzyme inhibitor, identified by researchers originally looking for biological pest controls, may lead to pain relief for sufferers of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, say researchers at the University of California, Davis. The finding, hailed by a noted inflammatory disease expert “as the most important discovery in inflammation in more than a decade,” may also reduce side effects associated with the pain killer Vioxx.
Lead author Kara Schmelzer, a post-doctoral researcher in principal investigator Bruce Hammock’s lab, tested the novel compounds on rodents and found them to be as potent at a low-dose as Vioxx and Celebrex, but without the changes in blood chemistry linked to heart attacks. Vioxx and Celebrex belong to a class of drugs known as Cox-2 inhibitors. The enzyme targeted by the newly discovered inhibitors is also found in humans. (Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions.)
Their research is reported in a paper entitled “Enhancement of Antinociception by Coadministration of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase Inhibitors,” published in the current edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Our laboratory was initially interested in regulating the development of insect larvae,” said Hammock, a distinguished professor of entomology and member of the National Academy of Sciences. The discovery switched the focus of the research from “pest control to pain control.”
See? People need bugs! Hmm…Except mosquitoes; they can go… Maybe spiders and bees too if there’s time.
Read the full press release here…
Flashbacks on bug-inspired posts: Blood Sucking Bugs as Medgadgets for Primates; Scorpion Venom Shows Promise for Treatment of Malignant Gliomas; Artificial Compound Eye for Future Medical Scopes