Colorado researcher studying gene therapy to treat pain

National and World

An alternative could be non-viral gene therapy

BOULDER, Colo. (WKBN) – A professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at CU Boulder is researching an alternative to pain management to avoid opiate use.

According to CU Boulder Today, Linda Watkins, a distinguished professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience, has spent her career studying pain and drugs of abuse. Her team recently discovered that opiates too early after surgery can actually make chronic pain worse and much longer lasting.

An alternative could be non-viral gene therapy. Watkins said that neurons aren’t the only thing responsible for driving pain. She says the immune system also contributes to it – the immune-like cells in the central nervous system.

The gene therapy aims to target those cells because typical pain drugs don’t do that.

The application is now in human clinical trials targeting knee pain.

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