Generic Names: nerve growth factor antibodies (anti-NGF) Trade/Proprietary Names: Tanezumab™, Antibody PG110, JNJ-42160443 Drug Class: monoclonal antibody Manufacturers: Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, 235 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017; PanGenetics BV, Heath House, Princes Mews, Royston, SG8 9RT, UK; Johnson and Johnson, One Johnson & Johnson Plaza, New Brunswick, NJ 08933 Description Management of chronic pain is often challenging since commonly prescribed analgesics do not have direct effects on damaged nerves, but, rather, nonspecific effects on pain receptors and other mediators of pain. Neurotoxins are a new class of medications that are being evaluated as potential analgesics. Using these medications, researchers hope to achieve pain relief by suppressing the activity of injured nerve tissue and directly targeting the source of some types of chronic pain. A challenge in developing these medications is that in addition to affecting nerves causing pain, they could also damage other nerves, including those in the brain and spinal cord. Neurotoxins could therefore cause serious harm related to unintended nerve damage, and are undergoing careful testing to understand how well they selectively affect already damaged nerves. Anti-nerve growth factor is the first highly selective neurotoxin to be investigated for use in humans. Discovered in the 1950s, investigators found that this immunotoxin stunts neural growth. Researchers Rita Levi-Montalcini and Victor Hamburger observed that a substantial increase in the size of sympathetic ganglia coincided with the extensive branching of sympathetic axonal terminals in tumors. They reasoned that tumors were releasing a neurotrophin - a protein that promotes the growth and development of neurons.
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