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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dave Thomas (NIDA) proposed that the NIH Pain Consortium (PC) support an industry-led effort to produce educational brochures on topics related to pain for clinicians. There would be no cost to NIH, NIH would have total control of content, and the NIH would have its name on the brochures. Pain Consortium members agreed that educational brochures could be useful, but raised concerns about partnering with industry on such a project. Discussion will continue among PC IC Directors, and no decision was made at this time.

Wen Chen (NIA) gave a detailed summary of the Pain in the Elderly Workshop which took place June 30-July 1, 2008. A complete workshop report will be finished by the end of the year, and a preliminary workshop summary will be posted to the PC Web site.

Ann Berger (CC) and Simone John (NCI) gave an update on the plans for an NCI Neuropathic Cancer Pain Workshop. They are raising funds through the Foundation for the NIH (fNIH) to support the workshop. It was agreed that outside support adds value, but if fNIH is unable to raise enough funds by a deadline of December 1, the organizers should inform the PC (which is strongly interested in this workshop), and individual NIH Institutes/Centers (ICs) will have the opportunity to contribute. The agenda for the workshop is still being developed.

Plans for the NIH Blueprint Grand Challenge Workshop and Roadmap Transformative R01 Initiative were explained by John Kusiak (NIDCR). There will be one workshop September 15-16, 2008, with the focus on maladaptive plastic changes in the CNS that occur in the transition from acute to chronic pain. Clifford Woolf and Jon Levine will be co-chairs, and the invitees will be approximately half from the pain field and half from research areas outside of pain. The broad range of expertise is expected to draw new people and outlooks to the field of pain research. The agenda will consist primarily of brainstorming sessions. The end product of the workshop will be a white paper presented to the Blueprint IC Directors. The recommendations from the workshop will form the basis of a Pain Consortium supported proposal for a Blueprint Grand Challenge. At the workshop, the Transformative R01 announcement also will be explained to attendees, in an effort to encourage them to apply for grants that will transform pain research or pain management.

Jennifer Mehren (NINDS) highlighted the importance of keeping the NIH Pain Consortium Web site updated, and suggested ways to accomplish this goal. Each member IC of the Pain Consortium will be put on a roster for an "IC of the month" piece where resources, events, publications, etc. can be highlighted for a particular IC. On the PC Web site, a button has been added for easy joining of the NIH Pain Consortium News listserv for the extramural community.

Patricia Grady (Director, NINR) discussed the expiration (in 2009) of the NIH-wide Program Announcement on pain-related research. Members agreed that the National Institute of Nursing Research should re-issue the Program Announcement, "Mechanisms, Models, Measurement, and Management in Pain Research", the first release in which most member ICs of the Pain Consortium participated.

Partap Khalsa from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine announced that NCCAM would be issuing a new funding opportunity announcement for research in chronic pain this fall.

Linda Porter (NINDS) led a discussion of plans for a Pain Progress Review Group. She suggested that at least 3 meetings with different goals and scope take place over one year (by 2010), to develop a plan for pain research support and evaluation that would span 5 years. It would be modeled on the Stroke PRG.

Linda Porter gave a summary of her experience using the traveling Pain Consortium display at pain research meetings this year, which facilitated lively interactions between NIH representatives and researchers. The display is available for PC members to use for other meetings. It was suggested that the Pain Consortium should have a presence at the upcoming Society for Neuroscience meeting, and Linda will explore this possibility.

John Kusiak summarized recommendations from the TMJ Association 5th Scientific Meeting, held on June 1-3, 2008, which included genome-wide association studies and studies on the transition from acute to chronic pain.