What is BU08028 and What Does it Mean to Chronic Pain Sufferers?

by Karl Voigt

In short, BU08028 is a new research drug that provides the pain relief of opiates, without their addictive effects. Trials of the drug have been conducted on rhesus monkeys with success that — it is hoped — will translate to humans. The trials, conducted at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, demonstrated a novel approach to pain relief without the risk of addiction.

Today’s pain management medicine relies primarily on opioids, like Vicodin or Oxycodone, that quell pain signals to the brain by interfering with neuron receptors known as opiod receptors, particularly the mu opioid peptide receptor (MOP). Unfortunately, these medications are highly addictive, as these MOP receptors also play a large role in regulating emotional impulses like the desire for reward, euphoria and cravings. That addiction can ultimately lead to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.

Fortunately, the body has another type of neuron receptor called the nociceptin-orphanin FQ peptide receptor (NOP). Previous research showed that drugs that solely target NOP receptors can block the addictive effects of opioids. Building on that foundation, Wake Forest researchers created a drug that would simultaneously target both the MOP and NOP receptors to produce opioid-like pain relief while reducing the risk of addiction.

Two days ago, their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In short, monkeys were given the opportunity to self-medicate with this new drug. While the addictive nature of an opioid would make them repeatedly dose themselves, they did not do so when given the pain-killing BU08028.

While this breakthrough is impressive, the drug’s introduction is still years away. Studies on humans may start in less than two years. Find the Wake Forest abstract here.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “What is BU08028 and What Does it Mean to Chronic Pain Sufferers?

  1. David C.

    This has a lot of potential, hopefully big pharma doesn’t squash this chemical due to it not being addicting. Big pharma WANTS you to be addicted to pain medication and take it forever for profit. If they find people use the drug properly and only end up using it once and awhile they will not want to replace the other opiates because they will lose money. That or they will jack the price up REALLY high. I have chronic hand pain and opiates arw the only cure ive found, but the dependance is hard to deal with. This drug would be a miracle for me, heres to hoping.

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  2. I have had Fibromyalgia for 22 years and am currently taking vicodin for pain. My Dr. will only give me 30 pills for the month, so one pill a day doesn’t help much and I am in pain 24/7. I agree this drug would be a miracle and yes, all we can do is hope.

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