Brain scans can track protein changes to show whether therapies work
MARCO LOGGIA, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL
SAN JOSE, Calif. — High-tech brain imaging could improve treatments for chronic pain, new research suggests.
Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden and Harvard University have found that PET and MRI images can pinpoint cellular and molecular changes in the body and brain that accompany chronic pain. The scientists used chemical tracers that concentrate in the regions where chronic pain affects body and brain tissue. Measuring changes in the concentration of the tracers during a patient’s treatment can show how well a therapy works, Harvard neuroscientist Clas Linnman said February 13 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
“The images are good predictors of whether drugs in clinical trials for chronic pain are going to work,” Linnman said. Providing such information early in drug development could make the process of developing medications for chronic pain more efficient, he said.