Nav: Home

Improved treatment for alcohol use disorders, chronic pain, mood disorders

January 03, 2019

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Helping people with addictions has become a research passion for Purdue University's Richard van Rijn, who is leading a team to make drug discoveries to support millions around the world dealing with alcohol use disorders, chronic pain and mood disorders.

"These disorders are currently not adequately managed," said van Rijn, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology. "Better medications that take a more holistic approach and produce fewer side effects will be beneficial. We have discovered that two peptides - which are naturally metabolic products of Rubisco, a large protein found in many plants like spinach - may aid in the development of these new medications."

This discovery by the Purdue team provides a new avenue for the development of medications that provide therapeutic relief for a patient without causing unwanted side effects. The discovery is published in the Dec. 24 edition of European Neuropsychopharmacolgy.

"We are part of an exciting new area of drug discovery, which aims to develop molecules that only activate the cellular signaling pathways associated with their therapeutic effect," van Rijn said. "We discovered that these peptides selectively activate the known beneficial pathways without activating the 'side-effect pathways' of the receptor."

Van Rijn, in collaboration with Purdue professors Darci Trader and Markus Lill, is actively pursuing synthetic and computational strategies to improve these peptides to make them more effective.

He said there is a reason for optimism as the initial rubiscolin peptides are already being investigated in preclinical studies for their ability to regulate dietary intake and are even commercially available in anti-aging skin products.

Preclinical studies suggest the peptides to be orally bioavailable and able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, both of which are necessary for a drug to effectively treat a disorder of the central nervous system.

Their work aligns with Purdue's Giant Leaps celebration, celebrating the global advancements in health as part of Purdue's 150th anniversary. This is one of the four themes of the yearlong celebration's Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.

The discovery of these peptide's exciting pharmacology is closely related to other research from van Rijn's lab, including patent-pending innovations dealing with the simultaneous treatment of alcohol disorder and depression.

He has worked with the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization to patent his previous technologies.
-end-
About Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Innovation from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at otcip@prf.org. The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University.

Writer: Chris Adam, 765-588-3341, cladam@prf.org

Source: Richard van Rijn, rvanrijn@purdue.edu

Purdue University

Related Chronic Pain Articles:

Molecular link between chronic pain and depression revealed
Researchers at Hokkaido University have identified the brain mechanism linking chronic pain and depression in rats.
How chikungunya virus may cause chronic joint pain
A new method for permanently marking cells infected with chikungunya virus could reveal how the virus continues to cause joint pain for months to years after the initial infection, according to a study published Aug.
Gastroesophageal reflux associated with chronic pain in temporomandibular joint
Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is associated with chronic, painful temporomandibular disorder -- pain in the temporomandibular joint -- and anxiety and poor sleep contribute to this association, according to a study in CMAJ.
One step closer to chronic pain relief
While effective drugs against chronic pain are not just around the corner, researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, have succeeded in identifying a protein as a future potential target for medicinal drugs.
Gut bacteria associated with chronic pain for first time
In a paper published today in the journal Pain, a Montreal-based research team has shown, for the first time, that there are alterations in the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tracts of people with fibromyalgia.
Nearly 5.4 million cancer survivors suffer chronic pain
A new report finds about one in three cancer survivors (34.6%) reported having chronic pain, representing nearly 5.4 million cancer survivors in the United States.
New opioid speeds up recovery without increasing pain sensitivity or risk of chronic pain
A new type of non-addictive opioid developed by researchers at Tulane University and the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System accelerates recovery time from pain compared to morphine without increasing pain sensitivity, according to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.
New target for chronic pain relief confirmed by scientists
A research group at Hiroshima University observed a potential new target for chronic pain treatment.
Menopause symptoms nearly double the risk of chronic pain
In addition to the other health conditions affected by estrogen, it has also been shown to affect pain sensitivity.
Research finds opioids may help chronic pain, a little
In a study published today by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), McMaster University researchers reviewed 96 clinical trials with more than 26,000 participants and found opioids provide only small improvements in pain, physical functioning and sleep quality compared to a placebo.
More Chronic Pain News and Chronic Pain Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.