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Genetic discovery: the prescription for chronic pain

Ming Zheng and Gary Peltz*

Author Affiliations

Department of Anesthesia, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

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Genome Med 2010, 2:82  doi:10.1186/gm203

Published: 15 November 2010


A recent publication that combined rat gene expression data and a human genetic association study has identified the first genetic risk factor for chronic pain in humans. In four of the five cohorts studied, there was a significant association of an allele within a gene (KCNS1) encoding a potassium channel (Kv9.1) with an increased risk for chronic pain. Identification of genetic risk factors for chronic pain could catalyze new advances in this difficult clinical area that has become a major public health problem. Genomic-medicine-based advances for chronic pain could include the development of a mechanism-based classification system for chronic pain, new treatment options, improved methods for treatment selection and targeted prevention strategies for high-risk individuals.