Biotechnology and cell signalling (Jean-Luc Galzi)
(UMR 7242) > Receptors, membrane proteins and therapeutic innovation (Scientific coordination : Isabelle Schalk) > GPCRs, pain and inflammation (Frédéric Simonin)
Pain is a major health problem that substantially reduces quality of life and imparts high health costs and economic loss to society. Administration of opiate analgesics such as morphine remains the most effective mean of alleviating moderate to severe pain. However, opiate treatments are associated with several adverse side effects such as the development of tolerance to analgesic effect. It has been proposed that analgesic tolerance results from activation of anti-opioid systems upon chronic stimulation of opioid receptors. Anti-opioids produce hyperalgesia and therefore diminish the net analgesic effect of the opioid agonist. This phenomenon has been called opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH). Persistent or chronic pain syndromes, which are often poorly responsive to opioids, are also frequently associated with pain hypersensitivity. This phenomenon has been called chronic pain-induced hypersensitivity (CPIH). It has been proposed that molecular mechanisms underlying OIH and CPIH could partially overlap.
Our team results from the fusion of F. SIMONIN and J.L GALZI teams, which both have a recognized expertise in the field of GPCRs and particularly focused on receptors that are involved in pain and inflammation. Our common goal will be to combine our expertise in molecular biology, protein design and purification, cell biology, molecular pharmacology and animal behaviour to study the molecular mechanisms that are involved in the development of OIH and CPIH.
We will focus on a limited number of molecular targets that have been previously shown (by us and others) to be implicated in these phenomena including RF-amide receptors, a subset of chemokines, and a promising family of proteins, the GASPs (GPCR Associated Sorting Protein). Results obtained by our new team should represent a substantial contribution to a better understanding of mechanisms that are responsible for the development of OIH and CPIH. By studying these signaling systems, we also expect to identify novel strategies and novel targets for pain treatment and related inflammatory processes.
Our team is a founding member of the Labex MEDALIS (coordinated by S. Muller, Strasbourg) that was recently created (June 2011). Based on strong basic research, MEDALIS aims to generate a drug discovery pipeline capable of taking molecules for the treatment of cancer and inflammation all the way through the pre-clinical stage and up to clinical trials. New molecules will either be licensed to established pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies, or developed in start-ups arising directly from the MEDALIS project.
The team that includes 20 scientists and students is headed by Frédéric Simonin.
Our team is financially supported by: