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Oklahoma State University

Molecular research the foundation of new non-addictive pain treatments

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Researcher looking at molecular imagery
Through molecular research, scientists at the National Center for Wellness & Recovery at Oklahoma State University are seeing promising treatment alternatives that would allow physicians to treat pain without opioids or the devastating side effects of opioids.

Through molecular research, scientists at the National Center for Wellness & Recovery at Oklahoma State University are seeing promising treatment alternatives that would allow physicians to treat pain without opioids or the devastating side effects of opioids.

At the forefront of this research is Don Kyle, Ph.D., adjunct professor of pharmacology and physiology at OSU Medicine in Tulsa.

Kyle is studying recently discovered molecules that show analgesic efficacy that is comparable to morphine in animal models but have reductions in the unwanted side effects.

Over the last 30 years, the science and pharmaceutical industries have been unsuccessful in delivering viable alternatives to opioids resulting in a devastating addiction crisis across the United States. However, promising evidence from preclinical trials demonstrates that scientists are getting closer to finding solutions with non-addictive pain medication alternatives.

"New molecular approaches to treating pain outside the opioid world or using opioid mechanisms in new ways are of premiere importance to develop opioid-strength analgesics without the opioid side effect baggage,” he said.

Alongside a multidisciplinary team of physicians and behavioral health specialists at OSU, Kyle is responsible for expediting and advancing research strategies to develop non-opioid alternatives and approaches to pain reduction.

His research is leveraged by his collaboration with health experts at the National Center for Wellness & Recovery who share the same vision for eradicating addiction.

A primary focus for Kyle is on joint research related to biased opioids.

“Biased opioids are not immunosuppressive like classical opioids, possibly making them attractive for treating pain patients in the era of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases without lowering their immunity,” he said.

Ultimately, Kyle’s goal is to develop solutions for individuals struggling with opioid addiction and substance use disorders.

“The bottom line is to end the opioid crisis using scientific research,” he said.

MEDIA CONTACT: Deanne Vick | National Center for Wellness & Recovery at OSU | 918-833-4822 | deanne.vick@okstate.edu  

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