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Pain research focusing on immune cells that activate nerve cells

Drug development aims to find ways to affect the pain nerve indirectly. For example, immune cells causing inflammation are significant in the mechanism of pain.

In the past few years, pain researchers have increasingly started to focus their attention on the role of cells other than nerve cells in pain. 

Pain research aims to target the immune system, among other areas. This means that the site of action and the drug development target is in the immune cells that surround nerve cells and cause inflammation, or more precisely, in the interaction between the nerve cell and the immune cell. The chemical produced by immune cells over-stimulates nerve cells, a phenomenon that researchers aim to reduce.  

In acute inflammation, immune cells play a role in causing the pain. Chronic pain is often caused by long-term subclinical inflammation. The inflammation may be located directly in the joint, as in the case of osteoarthritis, or in the pain pathways in the ganglia in the peripheral nervous system, the spinal cord or the brain, causing neuropathic pain.  



I am motivated by being able to improve the quality of life for people living with chronic pain while continuously developing myself professionally. My motto is: Let data speak for itself. Ideas without research are only speculation, but even the smallest of research results can take an idea forward and support decision making.”

Liisa Ailanen, Senior Scientist, R&D Therapy Area, Pain Research Team