Designing novel nanomaterials as possible drug leads to treat severe neuropathic pain


Dr Tamsyn Hilder
School of Chemical and Physical Sciences Victoria University of Wellington

Chronic pain affects approximately 20% of the adult population. Current drug treatments such as opioids are restricted by, for example, the potential for addiction. It is vital that more effective drugs are developed for the treatment of chronic pain. Toxins from venomous species such as scorpions have been shown to be promising drug leads, but converting these toxins to medicines represents a considerable challenge. This research aims to design microscopic nano-sized carbon cages called fullerenes that mimic the function of these toxins. Using computational modelling, the fullerene structure will be modified and their ability to block nerve pathways linked to severe neuropathic pain will be examined.