transporter_ii writes: Scientists from University College London seem to have come up with a two-pronged treatment regimen they believe would help patients suffering from chronic pain. And in a strange irony, they did it by making it possible for mice – and one human – to feel pain when they previously couldn't. From the story: "To examine if opioids were important for painlessness, the researchers gave naloxone, an opioid blocker, to mice lacking Nav1.7 and found that they became able to feel pain. They then gave naloxone to a 39-year-old woman with the rare mutation and she felt pain for the first time in her life. 'After a decade of rather disappointing drug trials, we now have confirmation that Nav1.7 really is a key element in human pain,' says senior author Professor John Wood (UCL Medicine). 'The secret ingredient turned out to be good old-fashioned opioid peptides, and we have now filed a patent for combining low dose opioids with Nav1.7 blockers. This should replicate the painlessness experienced by people with rare mutations, and we have already successfully tested this approach in unmodified mice.'"