Life-Saving Deadly Microbe?

Dangerous microbe affects pain in mice


Bhavya Kumar, Assistant Layout Editor & Staff Writer

With improvements in modern medicine, subsiding pain is dependent with the action of taking pills. Whenever one is feeling low with a cold or  struggling with cramps, the first instinct is to take Advil or Tylenol. However, there often are overlooked effects to these pain reducing remedies. Not only can these pills lead to addiction, but they also have their own set of problems and come with a lot of terrible side effects. Still,  the pain killer industry is one that’s worth $300 billion, and continues to grow as the health of people around the world declines.

Fortunately, findings from researchers at Harvard Medical School are turning the tables on this dilemma and offering a new potential way to silence multiple types of pain. The recent study suggests that toxins from the destructive microbe (microorganism) that causes anthrax (an infective disease) can ease numerous types of pain in mice. This discovery has opened so many doors to new possible treatments in silencing pain, without the widespread effects of painkillers. The research unveils that the anthrax toxin works to modify signaling in pain-sensing neurons and when delivered in a specified manner into the neurons of the central and peripheral nervous system, it can offer relief to animals in distress.

Study senior investigator, Isaac Chiu, states in the newly published research: “ This molecular platform of using a bacterial toxin to deliver substances into neurons and modulate their function represents a new way to target pain-mediating neurons.” With the limited knowledge on pain management that medical professionals currently have, studies like these that can lead to ameliorated ways of living and are essential in the safety and improved health of all.