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Personalized Medicine for Pain with Simon Tate, Convergence Pharma

Guest:

Simon Tate, Chief Scientific Officer, Convergence Pharmaceuticals

Bio and Contact Info

Listen (6:09) Sodium channel blockers and the Nav1.7 protein

Listen (4:17) How will your product compare with other pain meds?

Listen (5:06) Targeted clinical trials

Listen (3:36) A huge unmet medical need

Listen (4:28) Learning from the Vioxx scandal

Listen (2:31) Thoughts on marijuana use for pain

Did you know that you may have a gene which makes you experience more or less pain? Pain, that uncomfortable sensory experience we get when we stub our toe or suffer a cut, is the most common reason why we visit the doctor in America. It’s role is to send an alarm signal that something is wrong. Yet many people experience pain differently and at different levels based on their genetic makeup.

According to today's guest, Simon Tate, CSO for Convergence Pharmaceuticals, the area of pain presents a huge opportunity for personalized medicine.

His company's new technology acts by blocking sodium channels, conductive proteins that are part of the nervous system. Those born with a certain mutation of the SCN9A gene have "more active" sodium channels, and the clinical trials the company is running targets this population. The more active the channel, the more active becomes the drug molecule. According to Tate, sodium channel blockers have the potential to create a new paradigm in the treatment of chronic pain.

"Pain can be forgotten," says Simon about pain research. "In the US there is 50 times more funding going into cancer than into pain. . . . There's a huge unmet need here."

How is Convergence going about their clinical trials? And what can they learn from the Vioxx scandal? Simon answers these questions and more in today's show.

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