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Spider toxin analogue may help relieve pain

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New research suggests that a compound based on a spider toxin may be effective for treating pain.

Experiments conducted in rats revealed that the compound, called PnPP-19, provided pain relief most likely by acting on receptors in the nervous system that also bind opioids and cannabis (or marijuana). Interestingly, PnPP-19 is also being studied as a drug candidate to treat erectile dysfunction.

"Our findings reveal at least part of the mechanism of action underlying the pain relieving effects induced by PnPP-19," said Dr. Maria de Lima, lead author of the British Journal of Pharmacology study. "They also may contribute to the consideration of PnPP-19 as a potential lead compound for the development of new drug candidates to treat pain."

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