Scientists from Cambridge University say if drugs can be designed to block the protein produced by the HCN2 gene.
It could treat a type of pain known as neuropathic pain, which is linked to nerve damage and can be difficult to treat.
Researchers engineered the removal of the HCN2 gene from nerves in mice then used electrical stimuli to see how the nerves changed.
By measuring the speed mice withdrew from the stimuli, they showed how removing the gene took away neuropathic pain.
Another discovery while the neuropathic pain was removed, taking out that gene appeared to have no effect on normal acute pain.
Findings appear in the journal "Science."