Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New painkiller was born in Utah

03.01.2005


Undergrad discovered natural form in venomous snails in 1979

The natural form of Prialt – a new drug for severe pain approved this week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – was discovered at the University of Utah in 1979 by an incoming freshman studying toxins produced by cone snails.

The student, J. Michael McIntosh, worked in the laboratory of University of Utah biologist Baldomero "Toto" Olivera, the summer before his freshman year as the result of a scholarship interview. Now, 25 years later, Olivera is a distinguished professor of biology who still studies cone snails and how substances in their venom may be developed into drugs, and McIntosh is a professor of psychiatry and research professor of biology at the university.



McIntosh says his experience as an 18-year-old working in Olivera’s laboratory shows "the university provides a very unusual opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in cutting-edge research that can make a real difference."

Olivera says McIntosh first isolated and characterized the painkiller in the venom of the fish-hunting cone snail Conus magus, or magician’s cone, which is about 1.5 inches long and thus too small to kill people it stings, as do some larger cone snails.

McIntosh discovered a component or "factor" in the venom affected the nervous system. He purified it and determined its chemical structure. Later, University of Utah biologist Doju Yoshikami determined the factor blocked the transmission of nerve signals through certain connections or synapses between nerve cells.

Olivera and Yoshikami developed the factor – named omega-MVIIA, or omega conotoxin M seven A – for use in basic research in neuroscience. "It blocks communication between nerve cells," allowing researchers to learn what nerve circuits do normally by seeing what goes wrong when the connections are blocked, Olivera says.

The university didn’t patent omega-MVIIA because the substance "didn’t have a definitive therapeutic use" at the time, he adds. "As with many basic science discoveries, the clinical importance of the discovery wasn’t appreciated at the time," McIntosh says.

Olivera and Yoshikami collaborated in basic research on omega-MVIIA with George Miljanich, who worked at the University of Southern California and later moved to Neurex Corp., where Miljanich explored the substance’s therapeutic potential.

Neurex ultimately was acquired by Elan Corp., based in Dublin, Ireland. On Dec. 28, Elan got FDA approval to sell Prialt for chronic, intractable pain suffered by people with cancer, AIDS, injury, failed back surgery or certain nervous system disorders.

The drug is expected to be available in the United States in late January 2005. It is injected into fluid surrounding the spinal cord by external or implanted pumps. "The commercial product, Prialt, is chemically identical to omega-MVIIA, except that it is made synthetically instead of by snails," Olivera says.

McIntosh now directs research in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center, and treats adolescents and adults who have depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder (manic-depression) and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Baldomero | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utah.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex

nachricht New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>