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New Treatment for Low Back Pain

Low back pain is a major clinical problem second only to the common cold in its financial and symptomatic impact on human suffering.
It has been estimated that 20 percent of the adult population has consulted a heath care provider for low back pain and currently 5 million Americans are partially disabled by low back pain. Therefore, the commercial potential of a novel treatment is quite significant.
The study of low back pain has been hindered, until recently by the absence of an animal model. Two recent scientific developments enable a more effective strategy to investigate fundamental mechanisms of low back pain in humans. First, a rat model of lumbar radiculopathy has been developed and further characterized by investigators at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Second, the role of neuroimmune activation and proinflammatory cytokines in the etiology of chronic pain has been also been determined by these investigators

Recently, it was discovered that methotrexate, currently used in the United States for the treatment of neoplastic diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and immunosuppression has efficacy in a low back pain model in the rat. This is a novel application for an approved drug. Methotrexate possesses two distinct mechanisms of action: 1: inhibitor of DNA synthesis at high doses and; 2: an antiinflammatory agent at low non-toxic doses. We showed analgesic efficacy in our low back pain model using low dose, intrathecal administration.

The therapeutic use of this drug is claimed in the published PCT Application No. PCT/US99/25187. We are seeking an industrial partner who is interested in the commercialization of this drug for the treatment of low back pain. (Ref: J12)

Last Updated: 7/24/12