Scientists Identify Potential New Approach to Solving What Causes Itching

Scratching

Researchers at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) report a new strategy that may eventually help alleviate chronic itch.

Using a technique called quantitative high-throughput screening to sort through more than 86,000 compounds at the same time, they’ve shown that blocking a receptor found on the surface of both mouse and human spinal cord neurons could be key.

Dr. Mark Hoon discovered a receptor, NPR1 on mouse spinal cord neurons for a protein associated with itch and contacted NCATS.

NCATS scientist James Inglese, Ph.D., and his team developed a series of tests and used robots to screen the compounds in human cells finding nearly 1,400 molecules worth examining more closely, and then through another series of tests, narrowed it down to 15 compounds.

They hope the findings will help them choose which compounds to study further and chemically modify as potential anti-itch drugs.

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