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Monday, February 13, 2017

Introduction – Dr. Walter Koroshetz

Dr. Walter Koroshetz, NIH Pain Consortium Executive Committee Chair, opened the meeting by welcoming everyone. 

Pain Portfolio Analysis – FY2011-2014 Analysis of Collaboration among NIH-funded Principal Investigators – Dr. George Santangelo, Director, Office of Portfolio Analysis and Dr. Jim Anderson, Director, Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives

This analysis was conducted to explore the extent of collaboration among pain researchers.  The analysis was based on pain-related grants and corresponding co-authored publications.   The Office of Pain Policy provided a curated list of federally-funded research grants from FY2011-2014 to the Office of Portfolio Analysis (OPA). The curated list of grants was extracted from the Interagency Pain Research Portfolio Database (IPRP) which codes each grant for pain-related scientific categories and pain conditions.  OPA used their iSearch tool to analyze the list of grants.  The core projects were broken down by funding mechanisms and matched to other RCDC categories (Alzheimer’s, Biodefense, Regenerative Medicine & Transplantation) for comparison.  OPA then employed a novel methodology that involves computational processing of author-PI links to create accurate and interpretable co-author networks.  The co-author network of the pain portfolio totaled 1231 principal investigators. Less than 20% of the PIs were in large connected clusters indicative of collaboration.  OPA calculated the pain portfolio’s Relative Citation Ratio (RCR) which estimates the citation impact of the group of authors compared to an average NIH-funded article benchmark of 1.0. The pain portfolio’s RCR was 1.23 indicating a higher citation impact than average.  OPA used their iTrans tool to analyze direct translation of published science in the most prevalent pain conditions.  For example, the osteoarthritis cluster of grants were most concentrated in human studies whereas neuropathic pain had concentrated areas in human models as well as animal models.  This type of tool can also be used to see the relative gaps in the research areas of interest.

A small workgroup will be formed to generate some ideas that will be sent back to OPA for consideration of further analysis.

Proposed SBIR RFA concept for a clinical objective pain measurement tool using the SBIR Program – Dr. Dave Thomas

 Dr. Thomas stated that the current standard for measuring pain on a scale from 1-10 is crude and not representative of the complex biological, psychological and social components of pain.  He presented a SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) concept of a new technology that would enable objective pain measurement, termed the ‘pain-o-meter’. The group commented that precautions need to be taken in ensuring this product is seen as a research tool and not as a clinical tool. Dr. Bushnell cautioned that that insurance companies could use such a tool to decide who is in pain and who is not when in fact the patient should drive that decision.  Members posed questions regarding validation of the instrument and efforts to correlate the instrument results with current self-report indices.

Update on Centers of Excellence in Pain Education – Dr. Dave Thomas

Dr. Thomas provided a brief update on the CoEPEs modules.  The newest module features ‘Peter James’ who is a veteran with phantom limb pain.  A new module featuring Mr. Frank, an elderly nursing home patient with Alzheimer’s disease will be released soon.  The NIH Pain Consortium CoEPEs website has been updated with new modules.  Dr. Thomas also mentioned interest in NIH participating in a pain education webinar that includes scholars from the pain education community including Dr. Scott Fishman (UC Davis), representatives from Project ECHO and the Military.  The Pain Consortium executive committee members suggested that the AAMC also be considered and that the NIH could sponsor the webinar in order to ensure the participants are in accordance with NIH standards.

Update on contract for Survey of Insurance Coverage for Low Back Pain – Dr. Linda Porter

As a follow-up to the last PC Quarterly meeting in which PC Institutes and Centers were asked to contribute to funding for an insurance coverage study led by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Dr. Porter announced that seven institutes have agreed to cover between $10-45,000 and the requested amount of $150,000 has been raised.  The study is currently underway and the National Institute of Aging has joined the advisory committee.

National Pain Strategy Stakeholder Meeting – Dr. Linda Porter

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health and NIH Office of Pain Policy is planning to hold an open forum with federal agencies and external stakeholders to seek input and discuss progress of the National Pain Strategy deliverables.  The tentative meeting date is May 11th 2017. 

Federal Pain Research Strategy Co-Chair Meeting – Dr. Linda Porter

The Federal Pain Research Strategy Working Group co-chairs met on February 10th to discuss overlapping research priorities and define new cross-cutting priorities and refine existing priorities.  Final priorities from the working groups are expected within the next few months.  The FPRS document will be targeted to funding agencies however there will be opportunity for public input following the 2017 PC Symposium.