Chronic pain is a global unmet medical need. Most existing treatments are only partially effective or have side effects that limit their use. Rapid progress in elucidating the contribution of specific genes, including those that encode peripheral voltage-gated sodium channels, to the pathobiology of chronic pain suggests that it may be possible to advance pain pharmacotherapy. Focusing on voltage-gated sodium channel NaV1.7 as an example, this article reviews recent progress in developing patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and their differentiation into sensory neurons, together with advances in structural modeling, that have provided a basis for first-in-human translational studies. These new approaches will hopefully transform the treatment of pain from trial-and-error toward genomically guided, precision pharmacotherapy.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.