11 December 2018

SUND's Got Talent: Fewer Side Effects from Morphine

PhD Student Mie Fabricius from the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology is exploring the possibility of one day developing morphine compounds with no side effects. Morphine compounds work by targeting a specific receptor in the central nervous system. This receptor is able to send signals of pain relief to other parts of the body, but it can also send signals of unwanted side effects.

'Early research has shown that we can separate effect from side effect by designing new morphine compounds that only activate some of these signalling pathways, while inhibiting others', Mie Fabricius explains.

The aim of Mie's research is to improve our understanding of the receptor mechanisms that control this selectivity and hopefully be able to use this knowledge to design better morphine compounds in the future.

'Research into better morphine compounds is important because a lot of morphine is prescribed each year for patients with chronic pain. If we are able to increase their quality of life, enabling them to go to work and lead a normal life, then it will not just improve the life of the individual, but also benefit society', Mie Fabricius says.