Ted Price knows pain.
As a guy who likes to shoot hoops, he experienced lingering pain from sports injuries that otherwise appear to have healed.
As a University of Texas at Dallas researcher, he helped identify pain-signaling pathways between cells – a discovery leading to new treatments for chronic pain.
And as an entrepreneur, he and his colleagues established two companies and began developing new treatments – work that is getting attention from magazines, scientific journals, newspapers, and National Public Radio.
“Our goal is to try and understand how pain becomes chronic,” he said recently while speaking at Maggiano’s Little Italy in NorthPark Center to the Rotary Club of Park Cities. He talked to the club about the national opioid epidemic, his research and products, and the prospects for more new pain treatments.
“You have to be able to detect pain and protect yourself, ” he explained. Likewise, opioids also play an important role, especially with post-surgical pain, he said. “Not treating post-surgical pain could lead to chronic pain.”
But Price is hopeful research will produce alternative treatments without opioids’ addictive risks.
The neuroscientist’s work has focused on chemical signals sent between nerve cells when injury occurs, including two pathways that sometimes remain active – often for years – even after the body has otherwise healed.
“What we are trying to understand is how we can reverse this,” he said, explaining that addressing those two pathways could bring lasting relief.
While some approaches address pain with counter irritants such as warming sensation, cooling sensation, or numbing, Price wants to go beyond masking pain to curing it.
“You wouldn’t want to mask cancer,” he said.
Price helped launch CerSci Therapeutics at UT Dallas’ Institution for Innovation and Entrepreneurship incubator. The company is raising millions of dollars in hopes of beginning human clinical drug trials later this year.
Price and his partners didn’t wait for clinical trials before going to market with another treatment.
They established Ted’s Brain Science Products to sell online a pain cream made by mixing methyl salicylate from the wintergreen plant with resveratrol, “the red stuff in red wine,” he said.
There’s not enough resveratrol in wine to make a difference, Price said. But Ted’s Pain Cream uses high concentrations to “reset nerves to their pre-injury state, eliminating false pain, while allowing important, true pain signals to still make it through,” according to tedsbrainscience.com.