Ira Pastor ideaXme longevity and aging ambassador and founder of Bioquark interviews Professor Peter A McNaughton, Kings College London. McNaughton is Professor of Pharmacology, a senior scientist heading a group which aims to discover more about the molecular basis of pain. He heads research projects in several areas plus two drug discovery programmes in which they seek to develop new drugs to inhibit some of the novel targets which have been discovered in their lab. Professor McNaughton is also an academic who teaches science, medical and dentistry students.
Professor McNaughton comments about his research:
“The main thrust of the work in our lab is basic science, but some of our discoveries have suggested novel “targets” for drugs effective against pain. We have started two drug discovery programmes aimed at developing novel analgesics which will inhibit these targets”.
Peter McNaughton is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and has published extensively in Nature, Science, Neuron, EMBO Journal, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Physiology and elsewhere (see selected publications below). He was Professor of Pharmacology and Head of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge from 1999-2013. He moved to the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Research, King’s College London, on 1 Oct 2013. His current work is funded mainly by the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Wellcome Trust.
Ira Pastor comments on his interview with Professor McNaughton:
Over the past few shows, we have spent time on different hierarchical levels of the biologic-architecture of life and aging and how these integrated biologic processes are important in the maintenance of our daily health and wellness.
The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”. Pain is complex and subjective, defining it is a challenge.
Three different categories of pain exist:
1.Nociceptive pain represents a pain response to injury of various tissues via sensory nerve fibres in those tissues, maybe sub-classified according to the mode of noxious stimulation, thermal, mechanical, chemical and more.
2. Neuropathic pain is caused by damage or disease affecting any part of the nervous system, the somatosensory system.
3.Psychogenic pain, is pain caused by mental, emotional, or behavioral factors.
Pain can be classified as chronic or acute depending on its duration, more than 12 weeks is typically considered as chronic pain.
The treatments for chronic pain are as diverse as the causes. There are over-the-counter drugs, such as Tylenol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, prescription drugs such as opioids, muscle relaxants, anti-depressants, anxiolytics, mind body techniques such as acupuncture and biophysical tools. There are a lot of approaches to control pain.
And this is important because 2016, CDC data estimated approximately 20% of U.S. adults alone had some form of chronic pain.
An exciting trend in recent years is the discovery of new pharmacological pain control methods including cytokines, nerve growth factors, NMDA receptors, cannabinoid receptors, glial cells, and ion channels. It is an exciting time as we transition into era of “post-opioid” pain relief.
Today’s guest, who is going to take us further along this theme is Dr. Peter A McNaughton, Professor of Pharmacology and a member of the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Research at King’s College London.
Dr. McNaughton has worked in several areas of neuroscience, including the cellular basis of sensations, including vision, magnetic sensation and pain. Dr. McNaughton’s core research focuses on the molecular and cellular basis of pain and methods of controlling it. This interview follows a recent announcement of long term research collaborations with Merck and the Wellcome Trust.
My conversation with Professor McNaughton covers:
His background, including his path from physics, to physiology and into pharmacology. and the development of therapeutics for pain
His opinion of the global opioid crisis.
Key pharmacologic targets he is working on including the ion-channels HCN2 and TRPV1.
His views on Cannabinoid research and pain relief.
McNaughton’s views on magnetic stimulation technologies and pain relief.
Full text including links at www.radioideaxme.com shortly.
ideaXme is a podcast, ambassador and mentor programme. Mission: Move the human story forward!™ ideaXme Ltd.
Twitter: @ideaxm @IraSamuelPastor
Contact Professor McNaughton: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/ioppn/depts/wolfson/contact