Developing nociceptor-selective treatments for acute and chronic pain

Sci Transl Med. 2021 Nov 10;13(619):eabj9837. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abj9837. Epub 2021 Nov 10.


Despite substantial efforts dedicated to the development of new, nonaddictive analgesics, success in treating pain has been limited. Clinically available analgesic agents generally lack efficacy and may have undesirable side effects. Traditional target-based drug discovery efforts that generate compounds with selectivity for single targets have a high rate of attrition because of their poor clinical efficacy. Here, we examine the challenges associated with the current analgesic drug discovery model and review evidence in favor of stem cell–derived neuronal-based screening approaches for the identification of analgesic targets and compounds for treating diverse forms of acute and chronic pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Pain* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Nociceptors


  • Analgesics