The Italian Almanac


Italian Science - February 14

Italy has found a new way of treating pain that could be used in cases where traditional methods have failed. An Italian biotech firm, Lay Line Genomics (LLG), has engineered an antibody that acts by blocking Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).

NGF, the discovery of which earned a Nobel for Italian scientist Rita Levi Montalcini, is a key factor in making sure pain reaches nerve endings. The new antibody, called MNAC13, can now be "humanised" for clinical trials, said LLG researcher Antonio Cattaneo, who created the molecule.

The molecule will be developed by another Italian biotech firm, Bioxell, whose CEO Franco Sinigaglia said "there are interesting prospects to get MNAC13 into clinical trials in a reasonably short time." The new compound holds out hope for a string of crippling conditions like arthitis and chronic hip pain.