Six federal agencies have launched a database on pain research allowing researchers to easily search more than 1,200 projects, marking the first time this information is available in a single database.

Called the Interagency Pain Research Portfolio, the database--managed by the Office of Pain Policy at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke--was developed by National Institutes of Health staff and members of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee. This is a federal advisory committee formed to increase understanding of pain and improve treatment strategies by encouraging collaboration across the government.

NIH also partnered on the database with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Food and Drug Administration.

“This database will provide the public and the research community with an important tool to learn more about the breadth and details of pain research supported across the federal government. They can search for individual research projects or sets of projects grouped by themes uniquely relevant to pain,” said Linda Porter, Ph.D., Policy Advisor for Pain NINDS. “It also can be helpful in identifying potential collaborators by searching for topic areas of interest or for investigators.”

In Tier 1, grants are organized as basic, translational (research that can be applied to diseases), or clinical research projects. In Tier 2, grants are sorted among 29 scientific topic areas related to pain, such as bio-behavioral and psycho-social mechanisms, chronic overlapping conditions, and neurobiological mechanisms. The Tier 2 categories are also organized into nine research themes: pain mechanisms, basic to clinical, disparities, training and education, tools and instruments, risk factors and causes, surveillance and human trials, overlapping conditions, and use of services, treatments, and interventions.

Pain, which is associated with a wide range of injury and disease and is sometimes the disease itself, costs the United States hundreds of billions of dollars annually in lost wages and productivity. The prevalence of chronic pain--defined as lasting longer than three to six months--is estimated to afflict 30 percent of the U.S. population. 

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