Neuropathic pain has a high incidence in Europe and often affects the patient’s emotional balance and quality of life. Recent meta-analyses have shown that conventional analgesic drugs are not sufficiently effective in these patients and are limited by serious side effects. The search for new analgesics is extremely difficult despite identification of several new potential targets and enormous investment by the pharmaceutical industry. Important reasons for this failure are the poor predictive validity of currently available animal models of chronic pain, that do not simulate multidimensional clinical pain, and the high inter-individual variability of neuropathic pain manifestations and treatment responses. We will overcome these obstacles by an interdisciplinary collaboration between basic science groups, clinicians and leading private companies. This consortium will validate new animal models to evaluate the electrophysiological, behavioural, emotional and cognitive manifestations of neuropathic pain and the effectiveness of novel compounds. The use of these models in combination with other behavioural paradigms and new conditional knockout mouse lines for specific components of the endogenous opioid and cannabinoid system will permit the identification of novel druggable targets and biomarkers for neuropathic pain. Novel analgesic compounds acting on these endogenous systems developed by the private companies of the consortium will be tested in these new paradigms. Clinical studies will identify novel biomarkers for neuropathic pain using powerful genetics approaches and investigate treatment effectiveness with a translational focus based on cross validation of the findings in animals and humans.
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Funding SchemeCP-FP - Small or medium-scale focused research project
SP4 0QJ Salisbury