Something like a quarter of the world’s population suffers from chronic pain at some point in their lives. As opposed to acute pain – for example, the feeling after hitting your finger with a hammer – chronic pain may not even have a clear cause, and it can linger for years or lifetimes. The burden of chronic pain includes damage to mental and physical health, lower productivity and drug addiction. A new study led by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science suggests an original approach to treating this affliction, by targeting a key gateway leading to the activation of genes in the peripheral nerve cells that play a role in many forms of chronic pain. The findings of this study were published today in Science.