BEIJING, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- A new Chinese drug to alleviate patients' neuropathic pain, or nerve pain, has entered clinical trials, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology Tuesday.
The pain reliever SR419 was developed by scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Shanghai SIMR Biotechnology Co., Ltd.
Neuropathic pain, often described as sharp, stinging or burning, is chronic pain caused by damaged nerves or a problem with the nervous system. It is also the result of or accompanied by viral infection, diabetes, chemotherapy and surgeries.
Data shows that the incidence of neuropathic pain among Chinese elderly is 49.8 percent and more than 50 percent in cancer patients. Conventional painkillers are largely ineffective.
Zhang Xu, a CAS academician and lead researcher, has been studying neuropathic pain for almost 30 years. Based on Zhang's research, the Shanghai company established China's first complete neuropharmaceutical research and development platform.
According to the research group, the candidate drug proved effective in relieving chronic pain caused by nerve damage. It reduced potential side effects on central nerves and could replace opioid drugs which produce morphine-like effects.
Preclinical data show that SR419 has a strong analgesic effect and no side effects, with the potential to become the world's first analgesic drug for specific targets.