Biomarkers open new gateways towards precision medicine for painApril 9, 2019
Niculescu et al open door towards precision medicine for pain, with the objective to determine the severity of a patient’s suffering. The study tracked hundreds of participants to identify biomarkers that can help determine the severity of a patient’s pain. The researchers were able to find a handful of genes that correlated to pain state and of future emergency department (ED) visits for pain. The genes which the scientists were able to correlate with pain were MFAP3, GNG7, CNTN1, LY9, CCDC144B, and GBP1. Using bioinformatic drug repurposing analyses, they were able to find novel drug compounds that would selectively target these genes and could be used to not only measure pain level but also inform the drug discovery process to use these genetic biomarkers to create more personalized treatments for pain. MFAP3, which had no prior evidence in the literature for involvement in pain, showed the most robust empirical evidence acting as a strong predictor for pain in the independent cohorts. The breakthrough research could help overcome the massive negative impact of untreated pain on quality of life, helping determine the appropriateness of treatment, and the severe addiction gateway potential of existing opioid-based pain medications.