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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.
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Publications
2013
Lana B, Schlick B, Martin S, Pratt WS, Page KM, Goncalves L, Rahman W, Dickenson AH, Bauer CS, Dolphin AC. Differential upregulation in DRG neurons of an α2δ-1 splice variant with a lower affinity for gabapentin after peripheral sensory nerve injury. Pain. 2013 Dec 6 e pub

Lee MC, Tracey I. . Imaging pain: a potent means for investigating pain mechanisms in patients. Br J Anaesth. 2013 Jul;111(1):64-72

Lee MC, Wanigasekera V, Tracey I. Imaging opioid analgesia in the human brain and it's potential relevance for understanding opioid use in chronic pain. Neuropharmacology. 2013 Jul 25 e pub

Leknes S, Berna C, Lee MC, Snyder GD, Biele G, Tracey I. Response to the commentary "multiple potential mechanisms for context effects on pain". Pain. 2013 Aug;154(8):1485-6

Chen YC, Ayub M, Pristera A, Swanwick RS, Karu K, Hamada Y, Rice AS, Okuse K. Identification of a receptor for neuropeptide VGF and it's role in neuropathic pain. J Biol Chem. 2013 Oct 8 epub

Patel R, Bauer CS, Nieto-Rostro M, Margas W, Ferron L, Chaggar K, Crews K, Ramirez JD, Bennett DL, Schwartz A, Dickenson AH, Dolphin AC. á2ä-1 Gene Deletion Affects Somatosensory Neuron Function and Delays Mechanical Hypersensitivity in Response to Peripheral Nerve Damage. Journal of Neuroscience. 2013 Oct 16;33(42):16412-26

Perkins JR, Lees J, Antunes-Martins A, Diboun I, McMahon SB, Bennett DL, Orengo C. PainNetworks: A web-based resource for the visualisation of pain-related genes in the context of their network associations. Pain. 2013 Sep 11 e pub

Antunes-Martins A, Perkins J, Lees J, Hildebrandt T, Orengo C, Bennett DL. Systems biology approaches to finding novel pain mediators. Wiley interdisciplinary Review System Biology and Medicine. 2013 Jan-Feb;5(1):11-35 Review

Mancini F, Sambo CF, Ramirez JD, Bennett DL, Haggard P, Iannetti GD. A fovea for pain at the fingertips. Current Biology. 2013 Mar 18;23(6)496-500

Ellis A, Bennett DL. Neuroinflammation and the generation of neuropathic pain. British Journal of Anaesthesia. 2013 Jul;111(1):26-37

Stagg CJ, Lin RL, Mezue M, Segerdahl A, Kong Y, Xie J, Tracey I. Widespread modulation of cerebral perfusion induced during and after transcranial direct current stimulation applied to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience. 2013 Jul 10;33(28):11425-31

Fricker FR, Antunes-Martins A, Galino J, Paramsothy R, La Russa F, Perkins J, Goldberg R, Brelstaff J, Zhu N, McMahon SB, Orengo C, Garrett AN, Birchmeier C, Bennett DLH. Axonal neuregulin 1 is a rate limiting but not essential factor for nerve remyelination. Brain. 2013 July;136(7):2279-2297 e pub 24 June

Denk F, Huang W, Sidders B, Bithell A, Crow M, Grist J, Sharma S, Ziemek D, Rice AS, Buckley NJ, McMahon SB. HDAC inhibitors attenuate the development of hypersensitivity in models of neuropathic pain. Pain. 2013 May 18. (epub ahead of print)

Paterson KJ, Zambreanu L, Bennett DL, McMahon SB. Characterisation and mechanisms of bradykinin-evoked pain in man using iontophoresis. Pain. 2013 Jun;154(6):782-92 E Pub 2013 Jan 11

Crow M, Denk F, McMahon SB. Genes and epigenetics processes as prospective pain targets. Genome Med. 2013 Feb 15;5(2):12 (epub ahead of print)

Eijkelkamp N, Linley JE, Torres JM, Bee L, Dickenson AH, Gringhuis M, Minett MS, Hong GS, Lee E, Oh U, Ishikawa Y, Zwartkuis FJ, Cox JJ, Wood JN. A role for Piezo2 in EPAC1-dependent mechanical allodynia. Nat Communications. 2013;4:1682

Sikander S, Patel R, Patel S, Sikander S, Bennett DL, Dickenson AH. Genes, molecules and patients-Emerging topics to guide clinical pain research. Eur J Pharmacol. 2013 Sep 15;716(1-3):188-202. (epub ahead of print)

Cregg R, Laguda B, Werdehausen R, Cox JJ, Linley JE, Ramirez JD, Bodi I, Markiewicz M, Howell KJ, Chen YC, Agnew K, Houlden H, Lunn MP, Bennett DL, Wood JN, Kinali M. Novel mutations mapping to the fourth sodium channel domain of nav1.7 result in variable clinical manifestations of primary erythromelalgia. Neuromolecular Med. 2013 Jun;15(2):265-78