Juliana Camacho, a pharmacist by training, graduated from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and holds a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the same institution. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and has also worked at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in the United States. Her research is focused on exploring new avenues for the pharmacological treatment of chronic pain. Outside of her professional pursuits, Juliana is an dance enthusiast. She dances the traditional maracatu in various blocos (street parties) and is a regular at several of them during Carnival. Her passion for dance adds a vibrant dimension to her life, complementing her dedication to her scientific research.
Chronic pain, a debilitating condition that affects 38% of the global population, is often treated with opioids. These addictive drugs can lead to dependency and overdose and are responsible for the worst addiction epidemic in history in the USA. Brazil has recently witnessed a 465% surge in the prescription of these drugs, which raises the question, is there another way to stop the pain process so that we could develop therapies that don’t require highly addictive drugs? The mechanism of neuropathic pain involves the TRPV1 calcium channel, which is regulated by energy metabolism. The CD38 protein, a key regulator of cellular energy generation processes and calcium homeostasis, potentially plays a role in the actions of opioids. Our goal is to establish a novel strategy, distinct from the conventional one, that focuses on energy homeostasis. We view CD38 as a promising target for developing new analgesics. This approach could potentially pave the way for more effective and less addictive pain management solutions.