Everyday, pain receptors around the body pickup signals of injury or damage and relay those messages through nerves to the brain. But what happens when those nerves are damaged? You might expect that the pain signals would be blocked, but in many cases, the opposite occurs: the pain is intensified, ramping up to send pain signals that are greater than the actual injury. This can persist over long periods of time.
This is called chronic neuropathic pain. It is a disease that has many origins – diabetes, shingles, and chemotherapy to name a few.
We now know what causes this type of chronic pain. Surprisingly, it’s not the action of the nerves themselves, but rather the activity of neighboring cells, called glial cells. These glial cells sense the nervous system’s activity, and are themselves abnormally activated in a vicious cycle that increases pain.
The therapies being developed by Xalud Therapeutics go directly to the source of the problem: breaking the cycle of pain. We add back one of the body’s own defenses to restore the natural balance of the pain pathway, returning the glial cells to their normal resting activity.
These therapies may be useful beyond pain. The same signals that hyper-activate glial cells also underlie other chronic diseases, such as osteoarthritis and multiple sclerosis. We at Xalud Therapeutics are working on those diseases, too, in the hopes of developing safe, effective treatments without the unfortunate side effects of today’s therapies.