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A naturally occurring enzyme may reduce inflammation and reduce pain without the risk of addiction, according to new research.

Selective molecules that inhibit DAGL-β  are similar to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, said Ken Hsu, Ph.D., a chemistry professor at the University of Virginia. But they work without gastrointestinal toxicity common in NSAIDs, and without the addictive properties of opioids.

“We’re suggesting a different approach, one where we can stop inflammation without impacting the normal immune response,” he said in Cell Chemical Biology