Effective treatment options for chronic pain are limited to morphine and related drugs that bring with them significant potential side effects, including addiction. In addition, any currently available non-opioid peptide derived pain-treatments (notably conotoxins from cone snails) are relatively short-lived and require intrathecal (spinal) injection. Improvement of the conotoxin approach to peptides having longer half-life alongside IV or oral dosing would amount to a “sea change” in the management of untreatable chronic pain.
The bi-functional parent, soricidin owes its functionality to two separate ion channel modulating components. The oncolytic domain discussed earlier modulates the TRPV6 ion channel. Soricidin is a powerful inhibitor of voltage-gated sodium channels and stops nerve transmission. The paralytic domain has been isolated to the N-series peptides.