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Home Technologies Methods for treating pain and predicting cancer immune therapy efficacy
Methods for treating pain and predicting cancer immune therapy efficacy

Methods for treating pain and predicting cancer immune therapy efficacy

Value proposition

Chronic pain is a major health problem that affects approximately 1.5 billion people worldwide. The annual economic cost of chronic pain in the United States, including both treatment and lost productivity is estimated at $635 billion. Current non-opioids treatments are partially effective, while opioids are habit-forming, especially with long-term use. Therefore, there is an urgent demand for effective and safe pain medicine.


Dr. Ru-Rong Ji and colleagues have reported a method for treating pain intended to help treat inflammatory pain, neuropathic pain, and cancer pain. They have uncovered programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) as an endogenous inhibitor of acute and chronic pain. The checkpoint inhibitory protein PD-L1 inhibited acute inflammatory pain. Furthermore, PD-L1 reduced chronic pain effectively, including nerve-injury-induced neuropathic pain and bone cancer pain in rodents, via both peripheral and central actions. PD-L1 is produced not only by cancer cells but also by non-malignant tissues such as skin, dorsal root ganglion neurons, and spinal cord. Given the high potency of PD-L1 in suppressing pain, local targeting of PD-L1 signaling axis in sensory neurons may lead to the development of new analgesics. This invention was demonstrated in mouse models.

Other applications

The invention can also be used as a diagnostic tool to help predict the efficacy of immunotherapies in patients by performing a quantitative sensory test immediately after administration of a therapeutic capable of suppressing PD-1 -associated nociceptive neuron activity. This was demonstrated in melanoma-bearing mice studies.


  • A new therapeutic target for pain that provides an alternative to opioids
  • The same target can be used to assess the efficacy of immunotherapies by measuring changes in pain levels
  • Invention has been demonstrated in animal models

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