Study Points to Possible New Biological Pain Target in Children

Results of a new study published online June 9 in the journal Pain identify genetic variations in medication response to postsurgical pain in children. The findings suggest that it may be possible to better personalize pain therapy by calibrating pain-medication dosages according to a child’s individual genetic makeup.

The study team at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of more than 600 children between ages 4 and 18 who had tonsils and adenoids removed in day surgery procedures. The study identified one gene location, the TAOK3 locus, linked to increased morphine requirement, a site not previously linked to morphine sensitivity. Genes within the TAOK3 locus carry the code for a protein with a key role in signal transduction for many cell types, including neurons involved with transmitting the sensation of pain. Read a news story about the research here.

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