IMB Centre for Pain Research

Cone snailDiscovering new painkillers

Familiar painkillers, or analgesics, such as paracetamol and aspirin, do not always work well in managing peoples’ pain. Also, stronger painkillers, such as morphine, are usually highly addictive. At the IMB Centre for Pain Research (CPR), we are looking at animal venoms — such as those found in centipedes, spiders and cone snails — and other natural substances to develop new and more effective painkilling drugs.

Pinpointing pain targets

Understanding how pain targets behave within pain pathways, right down to the molecular level, is a new area in pain research. By examining the structures of these molecules, CPR scientists are working to improve the effectiveness of painkilling drugs, as well as to prevent addiction and the unpleasant side effects associated with current drugs.

Mapping pain pathways

How the body feels pain is still not well understood. At the CPR, our research maps the complex pain pathways within our body. This will help us to better understand what can cause chronic pain. It will also help us to uncover new pain pathways in the body that could be targeted by painkillers.