A New, Non-Addictive Pain Killer With Fewer Side Effects

Opioids Painkillers Addiction

The researchers discovered that the compound benzyloxy-cyclopentyladenosine was a potent painkiller in test model systems.

A promising new non-opioid painkiller (analgesic) has been discovered, with potentially fewer side effects than other potent painkillers.

A team of researchers led by scientists from the University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences has analyzed a compound known as BnOCPA (benzyloxy-cyclopentyladenosine) which was discovered to be a powerful and selective analgesic that is non-addictive in test model systems. BnOCPA also has a unique mode of action, which could provide a new path for the creation of analgesic drugs.

The study, conducted by the Warwick team in collaboration with researchers from the University of Bern, University of Cambridge, Coventry University, Monash University, and industrial organizations, was recently published in in the journal Nature Communications.

In the UK, between a third and a half of the population report having chronic pain that is either moderately or severely disabling. Such pain negatively affects the quality of life, and many of the often prescribed painkillers have side effects. Opioids, such as morphine and oxycodone, can cause addiction and are dangerous when used in excess. There is thus an unmet need for new, powerful painkillers.

Many drug works by activating adapter molecules known as G proteins on the cell surface. The activation of G proteins can cause a variety of cellular effects. Because just one kind of G protein is activated by BnOCPA, its actions are very selective, minimizing the possibility of negative side effects.

Dr. Mark Wall is from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick and led the research. He stated: “The selectivity and potency of BnOCPA make it truly unique and we hope that with further research it will be possible to generate potent painkillers to help patients cope with chronic pain.”

Professor Bruno Frenguelli, principal investigator on the project, from the University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, added: “This is a fantastic example of serendipity in science. We had no expectations that BnOCPA would behave any differently from other molecules in its class, but the more we looked into BnOCPA we discovered properties that had never been seen before, and which may open up new areas of medicinal chemistry.”

Professor Graham Ladds, co-principal investigator on the project, from the University of Cambridge, said: “This is an amazing story looking at agonist bias for a GPCR. Not only does BnOCPA have the potential to be a new type of painkiller, but it has shown us a new method for targeting other GPCRs in drug discovery.”

Reference: “Selective activation of Gαob by an adenosine A1 receptor agonist elicits analgesia without cardiorespiratory depression” by Mark J. Wall, Emily Hill, Robert Huckstepp, Kerry Barkan, Giuseppe Deganutti, Michele Leuenberger, Barbara Preti, Ian Winfield, Sabrina Carvalho, Anna Suchankova, Haifeng Wei, Dewi Safitri, Xianglin Huang, Wendy Imlach, Circe La Mache, Eve Dean, Cherise Hume, Stephanie Hayward, Jess Oliver, Fei-Yue Zhao, David Spanswick, Christopher A. Reynolds, Martin Lochner, Graham Ladds, and Bruno G. Frenguelli, 18 July 2022, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-31652-2


View Comments

  • I really think science should look into things other than pills. If there is pain, instead of just "killing it" through copious amounts of medications which alter and damage our body's biochemical processes, why can we not find the root causes of pain and how to correct them. Managing symptoms is not health, normal uninterrupted bodily function is true health

    • Dand ray, this was a horrible boomer take. I would be embarrassed posting this. But thats just me 💁‍♂️

      • Have you considered that "Boomers" have been around alot longer than you?
        Don't you think you will see and learn some things over the next 20,30,40 years, or do you know it all already?
        Well we've heard this garbage a dozen times and watched our friends become addicted and die. So think before you cast off people who don't have your youthful ignorance.

  • treating the pain is far more profitable than finding the cause and fixing the underlying problem. It is all about the $$$$.

    • I have a spine and neck that can’t be fixed! Most people with spinal and vertebrae degeneration have no cure available! No doctor can rebuild the vertebrae!
      They have no cure!

  • “ Many drug works by activating adapter molecules known as G proteins on the cell surface.” should be “ Many drugs work by activating…”. Reading this was like a slap in the face. Anyway the root cause of chronic pain is often inflammation of a nerve.

    • I think it's a gamma receptor drug like a Gabapentin which is primarily for nerve pain not a Delta Mu opioid receptor Agonist which actually gets rid of physical pain

  • Looks like it is either still in vitro or they would have said which animal model they were using. Only about 0.1% of lead candidates become approved drugs. And it takes years. Don't hold your breath.

Recent Posts

Scientists Discover That Binge-Eating Sweet Treats Is Influenced by Gut Microbiome

Gut Microbes Influence Binge-Eating of Sweet Treats in Mice We have all been there. You…

December 3, 2022

Advanced “Lab on a Chip” – Scientists Have Created a Powerful, Ultra-Tiny Spectrometer

The tool opens the door to the widespread use of portable spectrometers. Researchers in the…

December 3, 2022

1400% Increase: Sexual Assault-Related ER Visits Have Skyrocketed

According to recent research, the increase in individuals seeking emergency medical attention following sexual assault…

December 3, 2022

New Insight Into Brain Function – Researchers Have Identified a Long-Sought Gene-Encoded Protein

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have discovered a key molecule that contributes to…

December 3, 2022

Webb and Keck Telescopes Team for Unprecedented Look at Saturn’s Moon Titan – “Simply Extraordinary!”

On the morning of Saturday, November 5, an international team of planetary scientists woke up…

December 3, 2022

NASA Artemis I: Orion Spacecraft Fine-Tunes Trajectory and Downlinks Data

After departing distant retrograde orbit on the afternoon of Thursday, December 1, Orion completed a…

December 3, 2022