The Medical College of Wisconsin has a $1 million grant to study the use of genetically-modified stem cells to treat chronic pain.
The grant comes from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The study involves modifying the stem cells of rats derived from their own bone marrow or fat. The cells will be designed to produce painkilling chemicals and will be implanted at the site of nerve damage. The college says neuropathic pain is a common type of chronic pain that often follows a nerve injury. It's often resistant to painkillers and affects 2 to 3 percent of the population.
The college's professor of anesthesiology, Dr. Quinn Hogan, will lead the research which eventually may lead to an effective treatment for patients with chronic pain.