Dr. Jenny Ekberg and colleagues at the University of Queensland have discovered that a toxin from marine snail Conus marmoreus has interesting analgesic properties, similar to local anesthetics but without any motor blockade.
From the interview Dr. Ekberg gave to the press office of University of Queensland:
“The patient experiences severe pain because their nerve cells that are responsible for pain transmission are overactive,” she said.
“This is primarily due to abnormal activity of voltage-gated sodium channels in the nerve cells.
“Conventional drugs, such as local anaesthetics, block all types of sodium channels, causing severe side-effects.
“Our toxin only blocks a specific channel — the first time a toxin like this has been shown to work– therefore providing pain relief without severe side-effects.”