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The London Pain Consortium making a difference
Europain consortium receives EU and industry funding and begins five year research into better treatments for chronic pain Europain, a public-private consortium funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), announced today the launch of a five-year research project to understand and improve treatment of chronic pain. The project will receive 6M€ from the IMI as well as 12.5M€ in kind contribution from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) over the coming five years.

One in five adults suffers from chronic pain. This constitutes a major cause of long-term sick leave and forced early retirement, placing a great financial burden on both individuals and healthcare systems. Despite extensive research programmes by biopharmaceutical companies and academia, there remains a need for treatments that are more effective and with fewer side-effects.

Europain has established an international team of leading researchers and clinicians from both academia and industry to undertake multidisciplinary translational research. This team aims to increase the understanding of chronic pain mechanisms, help to develop novel analgesics, and develop better biomarkers for pain. Their ultimate goal is to improve the lives of people suffering from chronic pain.

During the five-year project, Europain will undertake a large number of preclinical and clinical studies. The program will be delivered through collaboration between laboratories in the Europain network, sharing resources to improve the value derived from the budget. Results will be made public during and after the project, ensuring that the knowledge created can be widely applied to the development of better therapies for patients suffering from chronic pain.

King’s College London, the managing entity of Europain and the academic lead institution will contribute to both the pre-clinical and clinical aspects of the project. One role will be to study the expression of potential pain mediators in both animal models of pain and samples from patients suffering from chronic pain. The role of novel pain mediators will then be investigated using an array of techniques ranging from cell culture to quantitative sensory testing in humans.

Professor Steve McMahon, who along with Dr Dave Bennett will be running the project at King’s, comments: ‘There are some big questions facing the pain field at the moment and this consortium, drawing on the skills and expertise of both academia and industry, is in a unique position to address them’.

The consortium network involves scientists representing 12 renowned European Universities: King’s College London (Academic lead), University College London, Imperial College London, the University of Oxford, the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, the Medical Faculty Mannheim/Heidelberg University, the Technische Universität München, the Goethe University of Frankfurt, the BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil/Ruhr University Bochum, the University Hospitals of Aarhus, Rigshospitalet Copenhagen, University of Southern Denmark, the SME Neuroscience Technologies from Barcelona, and the research resources and expertise of Europe’s most active pharmaceutical companies working in the field of analgesics, including AstraZeneca (co-ordinator), Boehringer-Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Esteve, Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis, UCB Pharma.

About the Innovative Medicines Initiative

IMI is a unique Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the pharmaceutical industry represented by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and the European Union represented by the European Commission.
www.imi.europa.eu.
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Publications
2011
Baker MD, Chen YC, Shah SU, Okuse K. In vitro and intrathecal siRNA mediated K(V)1.1 knock-down in primary sensory neurons. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2011 Nov;48(3):258-65. Epub 2011 Aug 26.

Obara I, Tochiki KK, Geranton SM, Carr FB, Lumb BM, Liu QS, Hunt SP. Systemic inhibtion of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway redues neuropathic pain in mice. Pain. 2011 Nov;152(11):2582-95. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

James ND, Bartus K, Grist J, Bennett DLH, McMahon SB, Bradbury EJ. Conduction failure following spinal cord injury: functional and anatomical changes from acute to chronic stages. The Journal of Neuroscience. 2011. 31(50):18543-55

Lau J, Minett MS, Zhao J, Dennehy U, Wang F, Wood JN, Bogdanov YD. Temporal control of gene deletion in sensory ganglia using a tamoxifen-inducible Advillin-Cre-ERT2 recombinase mouse. Mol Pain 2011 Dec 21;7:100

Marchand F, D'Mello R, Yip PK, Calvo M, Muller E, Pezet S, Dickenson AH, McMahon SB. Specific involvement of atypical PKC/PKM in spinal persistent nociceptive processing following peripheral inflammation in rat. Mol Pain. 2011 Nov 5;7:86

Dawes JM, Calvo M, Perkins JR, Paterson KJ, Kiesewetter H, Hobbs C, Kaan TK, Orengo C, Bennett DL, McMahon SB. CXCL5 Mediates UVB Irradiation-Induced Pain. Sci Transl Med. 2011 Jul 6;3(90):90ra60

Fricker FR, Lago N, Balarajah S, Tsantoulas C, Tanna S, Zhu N, Fageiry SK, Jenkins M, Garratt AN, Birchmeier C, Bennett DL. Axonally derived neuregulin-1 is required for remyelination and regeneration after nerve injury in adulthood. J Neurosci. 2011 Mar 2;31(9):3225-33

Heinzmann S, McMahon SB. New molecules for the treatment of pain. Curr Opin Support Palliat Care. 2011 Jun;5(2):111-5.

D'Mello R, Marchand F, Pezet S, McMahon SB, Dickenson AH. Perturbing PSD-95 Interactions With NR2B-subtype Receptors Attenuates Spinal Nociceptive Plasticity and Neuropathic Pain. Mol Ther. 2011. Oct;19(10):1780-92. Mar 22 Epub

Pristera A, Okuse K.Building Excitable Membranes: Lipid Rafts and Multiple Controls on Trafficking of Electrogenic Molecules.Neuroscientist. 2011 Apr 25. [Epub ahead of print]

Swanwick RS, Pristera A, Okuse K.The trafficking of Na(V)1.8. Neurosci Lett. 2010 Dec 10;486(2):78-83. Epub 2010 Sep 15. Review.