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Monday, April 9, 2012

The meeting was attended by the NIH Pain Consortium Executive Committee chair and members along with program staff from participating ICs.

Dr. Story Landis (Chair, NIH Pain Consortium Executive Committee and Director, NINDS) opened the meeting by thanking the NIH Pain Consortium members for their efforts in response to a number of recent pain-related requests.

Dr. Dave Thomas (NIDA) and Dr. Donna Messersmith (Palladium Partners, Inc.) updated NIH Pain Consortium members on the Centers of Excellence for Pain Education (CoEPEs) initiative and thanked them for their help during the review phase.  Dr. Thomas highlighted the IOM Pain Report recommendation to change the environment of pain education and mentioned that this area was a major topic of discussion at the inaugural meeting of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC).  Dr. Messersmith provided an overview of the initiative review process and timeline.  The CoEPEs RFP was released on December 30, 2011 and answers to questions posted on January 20, 2012.  The applications were due on March 5, 2012 and represented a wide breadth of pain management topics and approaches.  The review process involved 2 tiers of assessment by both external and NIH experts. Funding decision meetings are scheduled for mid-late April and the award announcement anticipated for May 2012.  Issues regarding pain management certification and pain resources available at other federal agencies were raised during the discussion period.

Dr. Partap Khalsa (NCCAM) reported on the first in-person meeting of the Research Task Force (RTF) on chronic Lower Back Pain held on March 5 – 6, 2012.  The task force held extensive discussions on the classification criteria and operational definitions for chronic low back pain syndrome, and agreed on a two-axis approach for classification involving objective findings, psychosocial findings, and medical history of patients.  Next steps for the task force will include fully developing a classification paradigm and beginning a scientific literature review of diagnostic criteria.  The second in-person meeting is tentatively set for Fall 2012.

Dr. Wen Chen (NIA) provided an update on the “Leveraging Existing Data or Longitudinal Studies to Evaluate Safety and Effectiveness of Pharmacological Management of Chronic Pain in Older Adults (R03)” initiative.  The initiative resulted from an expert panel discussion on pharmacological management of chronic pain in older adults convened by NIH in 2010 as well as 2009 American Geriatric Society meeting guidelines for prescriptions.  The initiative is designed to utilize existing databases to evaluate the safety and/or effectiveness of pharmacological management for chronic pain in older adults.  Dr. Chen reported that the applications are currently under discussion and solicited input from interested ICs.

Dr. Story Landis thanked NIH Pain Consortium members who attended the March 27, 2012 inaugural meeting of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC) and provided a brief background and summary of the meeting highlights.  The IPRCC was formed under the Affordable Care Act and consists of 6 federal members as well as 12 academic and advocacy members.  The meeting included a welcoming address by Dr. Francis Collins, a presentation of the IOM Pain Report by Dr. Sean Mackey, NIH’s response to the IOM report recommendations, a presentation on the FDA ACTTION initiative, as well as presentations on federal agencies’ pain portfolios. The next IPRCC meeting is scheduled for September-October 2012 and as a next step, the committee will develop research categories for an in-depth analysis of the federal pain portfolios.  Dr. Landis also noted that the committee members voted her IPRCC chair.  Following Dr. Landis’s update, Consortium members discussed pain research dissemination efforts and the IPRCC nomination process.

Dr. Linda Porter (NINDS) updated members on the NIH Pain Consortium’s 7th Annual Symposium to be held at NIH from May 29-30, 2012.  She mentioned that this year’s symposium will focus on (i) research advances related to therapy development of novel opioid analgesic formulations and approaches, (ii) novel non-opioid analgesic development and testing, and (iii) non-pharmacological strategies as adjuncts to pain management. 

Dr. Porter also reminded members of the upcoming American Pain Society meeting (May 16 – 19, 2012), which will include a NIH grant-writing workshop and roundtable as well as an exhibitor’s booth.  She also informed members that the Pain Consortium’s Common Fund proposal was under development.  Finally, Dr. Porter shared the news that Dr. Ann O’Mara from NCI received the 2012 John and Emma Bonica Public Service Award for her efforts in promoting and supporting cancer pain research.