Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv UniversityIsrael news photo: courtesy of TAU

Israeli scientists have developed a new drug for chronic neuropathic pain that isn't helped by the traditional medications. It will soon go to its first clinical trial.

Developed by Tel Aviv University researchers Professor Bernard Attali and Dr. Asher Peretz, "BL-7050” offers new hope to those whose pain does not respond to ibuprophen or even morphine.

The two scientists, who work in TAU's Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, targeted a group of proteins which act as a channel for potassium.

The study that led to the discovery was reported in a recent edition of the journal PNAS.

Potassium channels convey pain signals caused by nerve or tissue damage, known as neuropathic pain. When the channels don't function properly, the cells are prone to hyper-excitability, leading to neurological and cardiovascular disorders.

Taken as a pill, BL-7050 binds to and stabilizes the body's potassium channels, controlling their hyper-excitability and preventing the occurrence of pain by keeping the channels open for the outflow of potassium.

It has been licensed by Ramot, the university's technology transfer company, for development and commercialization by the Israeli biopharmaceutical development company BioLineRx.