Few things in life hurt more than diseases like bone or uterine cancer, or the chemotherapy used to treat them, according to Israeli pharmacologist and researcher Avi Priel. Unfortunately, patients don’t have many alternatives to effective yet addictive pain medications like OxyContin, Vicodin, fentanyl and morphine. These are opioids.
Priel, 44, is among dozens of researchers worldwide now hard at work seeking to find non-addictive therapies to help cancer patients bear their pains. He heads a seven-person lab at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School. The goal of his current research project is to stop the pain from reaching the neural receptors of patients’ brains. That way, they simply won’t feel the pain.