NYU researchers awarded $370K to study oral cancer pain

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) has given two New York University (NYU) researchers a one-year award of nearly $370,000 to study pain relief for oral cancer.

Brian L. Schmidt, DDS, MD, PhD, a professor in the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery, and Seiichi Yamano, DDS, DMD, PhD, an assistant professor of prosthodontics at the NYU College of Dentistry, have developed a nonviral gene delivery method that may be able to treat oral cancer pain effectively and safely.

"Oral cancer pain is more severe, and the opioid requirement is higher, than pain from any other cancer," stated Dr. Schmidt, who is also the director of NYU's Bluestone Center for Clinical Research and the NYU Oral Cancer Center, in a press release. "Pharmacological agents used to treat cancer pain often lack anatomical specificity and produce off-target effects that create additional suffering."

The research takes an innovative approach to attempt to eliminate oral cancer pain, according to Dr. Yamano.

"We seek to eliminate oral cancer pain by reversing epigenetic changes using gene therapy and set the stage for a new class of medicines that selectively disrupt nociceptive signaling with limited off-target effects," Dr. Yamano stated.

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