Can a Dangerous Microbe Offer a New Way to Silence Pain?

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Summary: A specific anthrax toxin blocks multiple types of pain in mouse models, a new study reports.

Source: Harvard

Anthrax has a scary reputation. Widely known to cause serious lung infections in humans and unsightly, albeit painless, skin lesions in livestock and people, the anthrax bacterium has even been used as a weapon of terror. 

Now the findings of a new study suggest the dreaded microbe also has unexpected beneficial potential—one of its toxins can silence multiple types of pain in animals. 

The research reveals that this specific anthrax toxin works to alter signaling in pain-sensing neurons and, when delivered in a targeted manner into neurons of the central and peripheral nervous system, can offer relief to animals in distress. 

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