Dr John Traynor - 2017
“Opioid Research: past achievements – future challenges”
Dr John Traynor
University of Michigan, MI, USA
Opiates and opioids have long fascinated scientists by the complexity of their chemistry, cell biology and physiology. It is easy to understand how the Founders of INRC come to introduce this conference as a forum to meet and discuss their latest research.
A reoccurring theme of the Founders lecture has been “How did we get here and where are we going next”. In this spirit I will review previous research that has inspired my work, concentrating on the receptors, their ligands and signaling pathways. I will discuss findings on alternative approaches to traditional opioid therapies aimed to increase the activity of the endogenous opioid peptides. This includes enhancement of the activity of the receptors with allosteric modulators or promoting signaling downstream of the receptors with regulator of G protein signaling proteins. However, in spite of all the outstanding science that has been carried out to understand the control of endogenous opioid systems, how opioid ligands activate receptors, the intricacies of signaling pathways and the mapping of brain circuits modulated by opioids, many challenges still remain if we are to understand the full beauty of the opioid systems.