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A European Training Network to Combat Bone Pain

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BonePainII (A European Training Network to Combat Bone Pain)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-12-31

Musculoskeletal pain affects the quality of life of millions and represents a major unmet medical need and a huge socio-economic challenge. It is a major cause of loss of earnings and has huge health care costs. In the BonePainII network, we focus on the painful disorders osteoarthritis, cancer in the bone, osteoporotic fractures, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibrous dysplasia, a rare bone disease. In a strong interdisciplinary and integrated effort across sectors, we train a new generation of 15 creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early stages researchers. The overall objective is in three inter-related and integrated work packages to provide novel technologies and knowledge to enable drug discovery in bone pain.
Drug discovery in bone pain has been hampered by 1) a lack of specialized technological platforms; 2) a lack of appropriate animal models; 3) poor understanding of the biology; and 4) by the interdisciplinarity of the subject area. In the BonePainII project, we work in a complementary, interdisciplinary and innovative manner to address these challenges. The project consists of three inter-related work packages. In WP1, we focus on developing advanced in vitro platforms and high throughput techniques to investigate the interplay between the sensory neurons and a pathological bone microenvironment. In WP2, we validate and investigate novel animal models of bone pain including a rare bone disease, and in WP3, we use cutting edge technologies to identify key mechanisms underlying bone pain in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer-induced bone pain.
In the BonePainII network we develop new technologies; identify novel targets, and pave the way for new therapeutic options to combat bone pain. Bone pain tends to increase with age, and as the lifespan of individuals is increasing and skeletal health is decreasing due to lifestyle factors such as obesity, the burden of bone pain on individuals and society is expected to further increase in the coming decades. Therefore, there is a strong need for highly skilled researchers within bone pain, and to make the foundation for novel therapies for this dominating and incapacitating symptom of musculoskeletal disorders. One of the underlying premises for the project is an overlap in the mechanisms of bone pain across musculoskeletal diseases, and that novel findings in one disease model will cross-fertilise to other projects creating a synergistic effect. The BonePainII project will give rise to new business opportunities: bone pain is an unmet medical need and BonePainII will result in novel technologies and targets, which will be exploited both by the four companies involved in BonePainII and by the academic participants.