Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New long-acting local anesthetic derived from algae effectively blocks pain in surgical patients

24.02.2011
Children's Hospital Boston to collaborate with Chilean start-up to conduct US preclinical and clinical studies

A U.S.-Chile collaboration is bringing surgical patients closer to having a long-acting local anesthetic. In a randomized, double-blind trial, patients given neosaxitoxin, a new local anesthetic derived from algae, had significantly less postoperative pain and recovered about two days sooner than those given the commonly used local anesthetic bupivacaine.

Based on this finding, Children's Hospital Boston, a co-investigator on the study, has signed a collaboration agreement with biotech start-up company Proteus SA (Santiago, Chile) to move the new anesthetic toward clinical adoption.

Tens of millions of patients have operations requiring local anesthesia each year. Current local anesthetics act for less than 8 hours; when they wear off, patients generally need opioid analgesics, which cause substantial side effects, including nausea, sedation, shallow breathing, sleepiness, constipation and itching. These side effects often delay recovery and can result in prolonged hospitalization.

Neosaxitoxin (neoSTX) provides local anesthesia for more than 24 hours. It is a site 1 sodium-channel blocker, part of a larger class of emerging anesthetics based on molecules derived from aquatic organisms.

"In my opinion, there has not been a truly innovative new local anesthetic medication in the last 40 to 50 years," notes study coauthor Charles Berde, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Pain Medicine at Children's Hospital Boston. "Most drugs introduced over that time period have represented only minimal advances. There have been candidate drugs that went in novel directions, but they've had shortcomings, and none have made it to market."

The neoSTX trial, the first of its kind, involved 137 Chilean patients having laparoscopic removal of their gall bladders. As reported in the March-April issue of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, significantly fewer patients randomized to neoSTX reported severe postoperative pain at the incision site at both 12 hours (4 vs. 18 percent) and 24 hours (6 vs. 16 percent). Significantly more neoSTX-treated patients had complete absence of pain at 12 hours, both at rest (88 vs. 69 percent) and with movement (80 vs. 60 percent). Patients in the neoSTX group reported a full functional recovery approximately 2 days earlier. No serious adverse reactions occurred in either group.

The trial was a three-part effort led by first author Alberto Rodríguez-Navarro, MD, at Padre Hurtado Hospital (Santiago, Chile); a clinical-academic team led by Berde; and a pharmaceutical development team led by Luis Novoa, CEO of Proteus SA. "As a surgeon who specializes in abdominal surgery, I think that the future of pain treatment will benefit greatly from this type of multidisciplinary collaboration," says Rodríguez-Navarro.

The Chilean and American investigators met through their scientific publications. Berde and Daniel Kohane, MD, PhD, a clinician-researcher in Critical Care Medicine at Children's, had studied site 1 sodium-channel blockers derived from marine toxins for more than a decade. Their work in rats showed that the compounds lack the side effects of existing anesthetics and opioid analgesics. They are not addictive, have no cardiac toxicity and don't cross the blood-brain barrier, thus avoiding the risk of seizures occasionally seen with existing local anesthetics. They also cause minimal local tissue reaction, avoiding the nerve and muscle damage seen with high concentrations of existing local anesthetics.

Meanwhile, in Chile, Rodríguez-Navarro had published work examining the anesthetic potential of neoSTX, derived from local algae.

The scientists at Proteus have developed expertise in extracting, culturing and purifying large amounts of neoSTX from freshwater microalgae, and formulating the compound for medical use. The planned clinical studies at Children's, hoped to begin this year, will look for optimal doses that block pain while avoiding toxicity.

Groups of young adult volunteers will receive neoSTX injections under the skin in gradually increasing doses. Although NeoSTX has appeared very safe in over 400 patients in clinical trials so far, the upcoming study will more precisely determine the margin of safety. Subjects will be closely monitored for numbness at the injection sites, as well as whole-body effects.

The team believes that even more prolonged local anesthesia is possible. They have data from animals and exploratory studies in humans showing that combining Site-1 sodium channel blockers with existing local anesthetics can produce nerve blockade for up to 2 to 4 days – with minimal local or systemic side effects.

"We think that the demand for a long-acting local anesthetic will vast," says Novoa of Proteus. "Our initial estimates suggest a market greater than 1 billion dollars."

Children's holds a U.S. patent on site 1 sodium-channel toxins as prolonged-duration local anesthetics. The clinical trial was supported by an Innova Corfo Project.

Children's Hospital Boston is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 1,100 scientists, including nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 members of the Institute of Medicine and 13 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is a 392-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Children's also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about research and clinical innovation at Boston Children's, visit its Vector blog.

Erin McColgan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.harvard.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>