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Skin Cream Could Treat Peripheral Neuropathy

Feb 2, 2014

One of the most debilitating risks of diabetes is peripheral neuropathy, which can impact millions of people each year and often leads to amputation.

It's difficult to treat, but researchers at Boston Children's Hospital are working to develop a skin cream that may relieve it.

The cream, which has been tested on mice in two trials, is designed to enhance GDNF (Glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor), a protein that plays a role in stimulating nerve growth. For those with small-fiber neuropathy--which reveals itself through pain and tingling in the extremities, usually the feet--the cells are lost through the degeneration of nerve endings.

While the cream does not replenish GDNF, it does help enhance the effects of the cells, so losses are less apparent.

"When you use an enhancer, you need less GDNF to activate receptors on the sensory neuron," said Gabriel Corfas, PhD, of the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Boston Children's. "The receptors are activated for longer, and GDNF's effects are stronger."

The study is potentially great news for those with peripheral neuropathy, since it could erase the need for medication and other invasive treatments, which are traditionally used to treat the disorder but are not without certain side effects.

"People have been able to treat pain in small-fiber neuropathy, but the treatments cause side effects, and there's nothing that can help the loss of sensation, which can contribute to people losing limbs," Corfas said.

Previously, GDNF has been used to treat neuropathy through spinal cord injections, which allows the body to use the large molecules. Instead, the cream uses a small-molecule compound called XIB4035.

Mice with small-fiber neuropathy that were given the cream showed improvements not only in nerve structure, but also in regained sensitivity compared to those that were provided with an inactive cream.

Researchers are now looking at whether the cream has any impact on large-fiber neuropathy, often the result of injury.

Categories: GDNF, Peripheral Neuropathy, Skin Cream, Small-Fiber Neuropathy, XIB4035

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Posted by Anonymous on 2 February 2014

"Great news for those with peripheral neuropathy", but when? If it is successful with mice now, if all goes well it could potentially be available to humans in about a decade. It is unfortunate that we consider that great news for those of us who are literally suffering from neuropathy today.

Posted by Anonymous on 3 February 2014

This is an interesting article, but I'm curious; has anyone here looked into prescription topical pain relief to fight neuropathy pain? It provides prescription strength pain relief without any pills or side effects. A family member of mine gets topical pain gels through a pharmacy in the midwest, A&R Pharmacy in Liberty, MO, and all he does is apply the gel whenever he's in pain. He has had significant results since going this route and I highly recommend it for anyone struggling with pain and/or pills. I hope this helps!

Posted by Anonymous on 3 February 2014

This is totally crazy! Creams, lotions, electrical impulses etc. all designed to mask the symptoms of a very serious condition called Peripheral Neuropathy!

Look, I know how painful neuropathy can be and I know a person with diabetes is looking for some relief but this is not the way to get it. You need to cure the reason for the neuropathy. Think about it. If you have a toothache from an abscess tooth and you take aspirin or acetaminophen you may get some relief from the pain BUT the abscess is still there! You have a serious infection in your tooth/gum and you need an antibiotic to clear up the infection. If you don't take the antibiotic, the infection could go systemic which causes you a ton of issues.

If you don't do something about the cause of the neuropathy, you will eventually need to have some part of your foot amputated. On average when a diabetic has an amputation of any kind, their life span is 5 years.

You need to reverse the neuropathy and it can't be done with creams and lotions and promises that "these new electrically impulses that only we have at a cost of thousands of dollars" will cure you. Hogwash! Snake Oil!
and a terrible lie being perpetrated on people who are in deep pain and are seeking relief...at any price.

I had one woman in one of our classes tell me that a chiropractor promised relief with his new "stimulation" process. She said there must have been one hundred people in the room listening to this person deliver these promises. She was in a great deal of pain from her neuropathy. After the chiropractor finished his presentation to the audience, his staff took the participants into individual rooms to let them know the cost of this miraculous cure. It was $10,000. Dear lord!

This woman told me that her husband had recently lost his job and she couldn't work because of her pain and debilitation due to diabetes (including neuropathy). She cried all the way home. When they got home, she and her husband sat down to try to figure out how they could pay for this treatment. They were going to put a second mortgage on their home!!!

Low carb diet and exercise will cure your neuropathy. I have seen it happen many, many people. I am talking no more neuropathy - I am talking nerves that regenerate themselves because they are once again receiving the nurturing blood supply that had been cut off.

I will charge you nothing for this advice. You should ALWAYS check with your doctor before any lifestyle or dietary changes. I am not a doctor but I have studied everything I could get my hands on about diabetes for over 11 years.

My husband is a T2D and has been for over 30 years. In 2002 his neuropathy was so intense he would go to bed at 7:30 p.m. just to get away from the pain. Shopping is something we always liked to do together. Since the neuropathy became intense (a period that lasted about 15 years), he could no longer go shopping with me. He would walk into the store, go down the first aisle and tell me he had to go back to the car. He was miserable because of the constant pain of pins and needles along with numbness.

He was on Neurontin for the pain and it wasn't really helping after 15 years of taking it.

He was on insulin, statins, diuretics, pain meds. I won't go into the other aspects of his debilitating effects of diabetes because in this comment we are focusing on neuropathy.
In 2003 I developed a program that he and I could live with. Starting with bacon and eggs, strawberries, blueberries for breakfast. Walking at the gym at least 3 times a week. Cleaning up our environment meaning that we got rid of ALL carb ladened foods and junk foods. We eat chicken (with the skin and roasted in real butter), broccoli and carrots for dinner along with a small glass of wine.

In 2004, my husband was off of the Neurontin completely. He was off insulin, and diuretics. In 2010 he came off of statins.

In 2004 my husband walked in 2 5K races and finished. In May, 2013 we went to Disney World and he walked from 8:30 A.M. until 11:45 P.M. He said he never even gave his feet a thought!

I am not a doctor, nor a dietician nor do I hold any medical license. My story is not intended as medical advice nor should not be construed, interpreted or used as medical advice. Only your doctor can give you medical advice. But I share this with you because it makes me so angry to see these so called "cures" for neuropathy.

I would recommend you read "Diabetes Solution" by Dr. Richard Bernstein or "Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It" by Gary Taubes. Dr. Bernstein is a type 1 diabetic who is now nearly 80 years old and still a practicing physician. I have no affiliation with Dr. Bernstein. The V.P. of Ohio State School of Medicine heard our story and asked me to give the opening remarks for Mr. Taubes' lecture at the Medical Center in 2011. Meeting and hearing Mr. Taubes lecture was a total thrill of a lifetime. He is one of my heroes.

Not sure if I can post my blog or my web site here so I won't do it because people with diabetes need to know this information. I am not going to post something here that may jeopardize or block this comment and what I consider very important information.

Question everything. Including my information. Don't just keep taking more and more medication without finding out why. Don't keep chasing a temporary relief for neuropathy and spending your hard earned money on "treatments" that may at best mask your symptoms and at worst cost you not only your money but your toes, your foot or your life.

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