Convergence Pharmaceuticals has started to trial a drug to treat the severe facial pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia (TN).
The condition is so painful it has become known as the 'suicide disease', with little medical solutions for those suffering from it. The pharmaceuticals company has started phase two of the study to try find potential treatment for the pain, which around 10,000 people in the UK are thought to suffer from.
TN is usually caused by pressure on the trigeminal nerve, and results in sudden, severe facial pain. The slightest touch can trigger the pain, which often makes activities such as eating unbearable.
Simon Tate, chief scientific officer at Convergence, told the Telegraph: "We think we're targeting the mechanism by which pain is transmitted in this disease." The next step would be to test the drug on patients, which will start with 50 people from across six countries.
The treatment works by blocking 'sodium channels' that allow pain signals to pass through the body. These medical advances could offer much needed help to patients suffering from this ghastly disease.