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(tigerlily713, Pixabay)

19 August 2018. As our infographic yesterday indicates, the opioid crisis shows few signs of abating anytime soon. And while much of the current surge in overdose deaths is from synthetic opioid drugs like fentanyl, the roots of the crisis can be traced to abuse of prescription pain drugs.

As a result, new ways of treating acute and chronic pain are badly needed. A story last week in Science & Enterprise reports on a new NIH grant to the company Peptide Logic in San Diego, developing synthetic peptides, short chains of amino acids similar to proteins. The peptides in this case act on kappa opioid receptors, pain receptors in tissue and muscles outside the central nervous system, which unlike today’s opioid pain drugs that can be addictive, do not affect the brain. The 2-year award of nearly $3 million aims to advance the technology to the point of clinical trials.

Here are other stories we covered last week:

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