Controlling pain is an essential component of palliative care, and researchers have discovered that the body's naturally occurring protein could have a key role in levels of discomfort. Scientists at the University of Bordeaux have isolated a molecular signalling protein in rats associated with the transmission of nerve signals to the brain. As a result of their findings, they have suggested therapeutic interventions targeting this protein to alleviate long-lasting pain. Lead author professor Marc Landry explained: "We see potential in combining the use of inhibitors that interfere with the action of [protein] 14-3-3 zeta together with existing drug treatments … for chronic pain." Previous studies have suggested targeting pain receptors responsible for controlling sensitivity to the two main causes of pain - inflammation and nerve damage. Research published in the journal Nature Medicine in March suggest developing drugs to block this crucial receptor while leaving its other functions intact. Find out about palliative care and nursing at Barchester care homes.