While Roche's Genentech Inc. unit has been busy unraveling the role of Bv8 in tumor angiogenesis,1-3 a team of Italian researchers has shown that the target also plays an essential role in inflammatory pain. Local and systemic inhibition of Bv8 signaling treated pain in mice,4potentially providing a route to a new class of therapies.
Despite the recent attention to Bv8 as a cancer target, evidence for its role in the pain setting has been mounting for the past decade. In 1999, a team at the Austrian Academy of Sciences showed that prokineticin 2 (PROK2; Bv8) induced hyperalgesia in rats.5 Signaling between the mammalian homolog of Bv8 and its receptors-prokineticin receptor 1 (PROKR1; PKR1) and PROKR2 (PKR2)-has also been implicated in hyperalgesic responses to thermal, mechanical and chemical stimuli.6-8
Macrophages, granulocytes and other leukocytes are