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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.
 
Publications
2012
Eijkelkamp N, Linley JE, Baker MD, Minett MS, , Cregg R, Werdehausen R, Rugiero F, Wood JN, . Neurological perspectives on voltage-gated sodium channels. Brain. 2012 Sep;135(pt9):2585-612 Review

Raouf R, Rugiero F, Kiesewetter H, Hatch R, Hummler E, Nassar M, Wang F, Wood JN. Sodium channels and mammalian sensory mechantransduction. Molecular Pain. 2012;8:21 Published online 2012 March 26)

Pristera A, Baker MD, Okuse K. Association between tetrodotoxin resistant channels and lipid rafts regulates sensory neuron excitability. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e40079 Epub 2012 Aug 1. Erratum in PLoS One. 2013;8(5)

Tsantoulas C, Zhu L, Shaifta Y, Grist J, Ward JP, Raouf R, Michael GJ, McMahon SB. Sensory neuron downregulation of the Kv9.1 potassium channel subunit mediates neuropathic pain following nerve injury. J. Neuroscience. 2012 Nove 28;32(48):17502-12

Blackbeard J, Wallace VCJ, O'Dea KP, Hasnie FS, Segerdahl A, Pheby T, Field M, Takata M, Rice ASC. The correlation between pain-related behaviour and spinal microgliosis in four distinct models of peripheral neuropathy. European Journal of Pain. 2012 Nov;16(10):1357-67 Epub 2012 Mar 29

Kamerman PR, Moss PJ, Weber J, Wallace VCJ, Rice ASC, Huang W. Pathogenesis of HIV-associated senosry neuropath: evidence from in vivo and in vitro experimental models. Journal of the Peripheral Nervouse System. 2012;17:19-31

Perkins JR, Dawes JM, McMahon SB, Bennett DL, Orengo C, Kohl M. ReadqPCR and NorqPCR: R packages for the reading, quality checking and normalisation of RT-qPCR quantification cycle (Cq) data. BMC Genomics. 2012 Jul 2;13:296.

Tracey I, Dickenson A. Snapshot: Pain perception. Cell 2012 Mar16;148(6):1308-1308.e2

Quick K, Zhao J, Eijkelkamp N, Linley JE, Rugiero F, Cox JJ, Raouf R, Gringhuis M, Sexton JE, Abramowitz J, Taylor R, Forge A, Ashmore J, Kirkwood N, Kros CJ, Richardson GP, Freichel M, Flockerzi V, Birnbaumer L, Wood JN. TRPC3 and TRPC6 are essential for normal mechantransduction in subsets of sensory neurons and cochlear hair cells. Open Biol. 2012 May;2(5):120068

Passmore G, Reilly J, Thakur M, Keasberry V, Marsh SJ, Dickenson AH, Brown D. Functional significance of M-tyoe potassium channels in nociceptive cutaneous senosry endings. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscinece doi:10.3389/fnmol.2012.00063

Goncalves L. Dickenson AH, Asymmetirc time-dependent activation of right central amygdala neurones in animals with peripheral neuropathy and pregabalin modulation. Eur J Neurosci. pp. 1–10, 2012 e pub Aug 3

Minett MS, Nassas MA, Clark AK, Passmore G, Dickenson AH, Wang F, Malcangio M, Wood JN. Distinct Nav1.7-dependent pain sensations require different sets of sensory and sympathetic neurons. Nature Communication. 2012 Apr 24;3:791

Thakur M, Rahman W, Hobbs C, Dickenson AH, Bennett DLH. Charaterisation of a peripheral neuropathic component of the rat monoiodoacetate model of osteoarthritis. PLos One.7(3):e33730. Epub Mar21 2012

Ramirez JD, Barnes PRJ, Mills KR, Bennett DLH. Intermediate Charcot Marie Tooth due to a novel Trp101Stop Myelin Protien Zero Mutation associated with debilitating neuropathic pain. Pain 2012 Aug;153(8):1763-8. Epub 2012 Jun 16.

Segerdahl AR, Xie J, Paterson K, Ramirez JD, Tracey I, Bennett DL. Imaging the neural correlates of neuropathic pain and pleasurable relief associated with inherited erythromelalgia in a single subject with quantitative arterial spin labelling. Pain. Volume 153, Issue 5, May 2012, Pages 1122–1127. Feb 23 (epub)

Pristera A, Okuse K. Building excitable membranes:lipid rafts and multiple controls on trafficking of electrogenic molecules. Neuroscientist. 2012 Feb;18(1)70-81. Epub 2011 Aug 26

Denk F, McMahon SB. Chronic Pain:emerging evidence for the involvement of epigentics. Neuron. 2012 Feb9;73(3):435-44

Eijkelkamp N, Heijnen CJ, Carbajal AG, Willemen HL, Wang H, Minett MS, Wood JN, Schedlowski M, Dantzer R, Kelley KW, Kavelaars A. GRK6 acts as a critical regulator of cytokine-induced hyperalgesia by promoting PI3kinase- and inhibiting p38-signaling. Mol Med. 2012 May 9;18(1):556-64. Feb 6 (epub)