Ars Technica on a breakthrough in pain treatment:
Researchers have been interested in the [sodium ion channel] Nav1.7 for years, he said. Excitement peaked in 2006 when scientists reported finding a family who lacked the channel and could feel no pain at all. After that, researchers excitedly scrambled to relieve pain with Nav1.7-blocking drugs. But the drugs inexplicably failed, Wood said. ‘So we thought, well maybe this channel isn’t just a channel, maybe it’s got some other activities as well.’
It’s all very intriguing and promising, but potent analgesia without unconsciousness is like fusion power or a phone battery that charges in five minutes and lasts for a month, a technology that’s always on the horizon: a pain-free future has been 10 years away for 50 years.
(And you get a gold star if you know why, in principle, no pain medication can ever be completely effective for all pain. Hint.)