The NGF System and its interplay with endocannabinoid signalling, from peripheral sensory terminals to the brain: new targets for the development of next generation drugs for neuropathic pain

  • Institution Presentation

    King’s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King’s has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. The Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases is one of the most vibrant groupings of scientists at King’s College London with a research focus on neurodegeneration, pain, regeneration and clinical trials for vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

  • Project Staff

     malcangioMarzia Malcangio

    Professor of Neuropharmacology
    Wolfson Centre for Age Related Diseases Department

    Marzia Malcangio has been Wellcome Trust Career development Fellow (1999-2003) at KCL. Project manager at Novartis (2003-2005). Since she re-joined King’s in 2005, MM has been the recipient of PhD studentships from the MRC and BBSRC and grants from the Wellcome Trust, the Arthritis Research UK and the Lundbeck Foundation. She also has drug-discovery collaborative work with private companies such as Virobay, Medivir and Lilly. MM lectures in General Pharmacology and Neuropharmacology at King’s and runs a module in Drug Discovery and Development within the Dept of Pharmacology. She is regularly invited to contribute to international meetings. MM has published 82 papers in top journals and has an H index of 38.

    Malcangio’s lab studies the plasticity of the first pain synapse in the spinal cord in the context of chronic pain mechanisms. The study of both neuronal and glial mechanisms regulating the primary somatosensory system has the potential to reveal new targets/mechanisms for the treatment of chronic pain. The plasticity of the first pain synapse in the dorsal horn is routinely studied in her laboratory by measuring the release of nociceptive transmitters/modulators from primary afferent fibres, dorsal horn neurons and (micro)glial cells in the isolated dorsal horn-with dorsal root attached preparation. This approach is combined with behavioural studies, immunohistochemical analysis, ex vivo release of neurotransmitters/cytokines, and cell culture studies. In the recent past, MM has shown that the content and release of pro-nociceptive mediators at the first pain synapse is under the control of the NGF/TrkA system. Current studies are focussed on the neuronal chemokine fractalkine and its microglial receptor CX3CR1 in orchestrating neuron-immune cell interactions in chronic pain.


    Annalisa Pastore

    Professor in Molecular Basis of Neurodegeneration
    Basic and Clinical Neurosciences Department

    Annalisa Pastore, has been group leader of a Structural Biology group at the MRC in London. She has more than 30 years of experience in research. Over the last 10 years her program has focused on studying proteins involved in neurological diseases. She uses a vast variety of biophysical, biochemical and bioinformatic tools. Major achievements of her career involve understanding the cellular role of frataxin, the protein responsible for Friedreich’s ataxia. She is the authors of more than 220 articles in peer reviewed journals. Her laboratory comprises ca. 12 scientists, students and technical personnel. She has already collaborated in the past with the SNS group and has published a paper on the structural characterization of pro-NGF.