Many health disorders can cause devastating chronic pain. Raj Khanna and his colleagues study the biological mechanisms underlying pain, in an effort to develop new therapeutic approaches. A major focus of their current research is to determine the precise gene sequences that are linked to particular symptoms of the painful genetic disorder, Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). NF1 is characterized by neurofibromas (small benign growths) on or under the skin, and occasionally, tumors may develop in the brain, on cranial nerves, or on the spinal cord. While NF tumors are generally not cancerous, pain and migraine are a frequent complication.
Khanna’s lab has recently been able to model the pain of NF1 in a rodent model and then to reverse the pain with non-opioid based drugs. In collaboration with Mohab Ibrahim, M.D., Ph.D., the Khanna lab is now starting to explore exposure to green light as a non-pharmacological treatment for managing pain in NF1 and in other pain syndromes.
In this episode:
Rajesh Khanna, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Leslie P. Tolbert, Ph.D., Regents’ Professor in Neuroscience.