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Home E-Weekly April 25, 2017

A Pharmaceutical Cure for Hypothermia?

Published: April 24, 2017

HOT STORY Early research suggests the benefits of a TRPV1 antagonist may include quicker recovery times and wound healing, as well as less post-operative pain without the use of opioids.

Researchers believe a pharmaceutical agent originally intended to target pain may hold the key to preventing anesthesia-induced hypothermia.

TRPV1 is a pain receptor in the human body activated by "dangerous" outside stimuli, such as hot temperatures. Pharmaceutical companies first saw potential in TRPV1 antagonists to be used as analgesics, but those plans were scuttled when the drugs produced fever-like symptoms in patients. Researchers from the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson and St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix now say TRPV1 antagonists may help to revolutionize the way ORs treat the effects of hypothermia.

"Here's a drug which is potentially pain medication, but which also reverses body temperature, which is dropped under anesthesia," Dr. Patwardhan, an anesthesiologist and assistant professor of pharmacology and anesthesiology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, told The Daily Wildcat. "In one hand you can get 2 results, both of which are highly desirable under anesthesia."

Although an TRPV1 antagonist has been tested only on rats so far, it could have "big advantages" for human patients, said Dr. Porreca, a professor of anesthesiology and pharmacology at UA — namely, quicker recovery times, more efficient wound healing and minimized pain without the use of opioids, all while mitigating the potentially dangerous effects of hypothermia.

Through their new start-up, Catalina Pharma, the researchers are now working on getting clinical trials underway.

Bill Donahue

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