What Other Neuropathic Pain Drugs Are Missing
Feb 3 2013, By Chris Frangold
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
When doctors diagnose patients with neuropathic pain, it almost always comes as a shock to patients and family members because it is often difficult to pinpoint and even more difficult to treat. Neuropathic pain is different from muscular or skeletal pain, as the pain or burning sensation is caused by damage to neurons or cells in the nervous system. Most drugs treat the symptoms of neuropathic pain and try to alleviate the physical discomfort and psychological agony without treating the root cause.
Lpath's (LPTN) Lpathomab directly targets Lysophosphatidic Acid (LPA) which plays an important role in neuropathic pain associated with neurotrauma, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. Below, I will discuss how Lpathomab could help people with neuropathic pain by targeting the root cause of the pain, unlike its competitors which target symptoms. Successful Phase 2 trials of Lpathomab could act as a growth catalyst for the stock.
What Is Neuropathic Pain?
Neuropathic Pain can be described as intense pain resulting from damage to the nervous or somatosensory system. These abnormal sensations are caused by damage to neurons and neural tissue which causes continuous or episodic pain, a burning sensation, numbness and itching. Neuropathic pain affects 7% to 8% of the total European population, and the incidence is believed to be similar worldwide. Neuropathic pain can result from cancer or the treatment of cancers, along with HIV/AIDS and diabetes.
How Is Neuropathic Pain Treated?
Treating neuropathic pain is very difficult, and most physicians expect only 40 to 60% of patients experiencing only partial relief. Most patients are prescribed antidepressants, anti-epileptic drugs, Opioids, topical agents and cannabinoids. Antidepressants may come in the form of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants. Antidepressants not only elevate mood, but also reduce chemical reactions in the brain that helps us to perceive pain. Opioids like methadone may be prescribed when neuropathic pain is unbearable.
Extracts of the cannabis plant are sometimes given to patients when no other treatment works. Even with these choices, and a few other pain killers by big pharmaceuticals which I will discuss later, there is no treatment that directly targets the root cause of neuropathic pain.
According to Nature Publishing Group,the neuropathic pain market is expected to grow from $2.4 billion in 2010 to $3.6 billion by 2020. Nucynta ER, manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, owned by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), is expected to lead the market by 2020 with sales of $1.2 billion. Nature Publishing Group is a leading publisher of scientific medical information.
Lpathomab Treats the Root Cause of Neuropathic Pain
Lpath's Lpathomab is a monoclonal antibody against lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). It targets LPA directly. LPA is a clinically established cause of tumorigenesis, metastasis and fibrotic disease. LPA is also known to promote neuropathic pain. Lpathomab protects the body against neuronal cell death due to LPA activity and prevents neuropathic pain from progressing. Lpathomab can be used against a range of central nervous system disorders that cause unexplained pain and trauma.
Lpathomab is being considered for Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative diseases of the nervous system. Unlike its competitors, Lpathomab directly combats LPA and generates antibodies that protect the nervous system, enabling the nervous system to stop cell death, which is the root cause of neuropathic pain. Lpathomab will enter Phase 2 trials later this year. If and when the drug is granted approval from FDA to treat neuropathic pain and other central nervous system disorders, Lpath could give its competitors a run for their money...