More than 25 million Americans suffer from daily chronic pain, a highly debilitating medical condition that is complex and difficult to manage. In recent decades, there has been an overreliance on the prescription of opioids for chronic pain despite their poor ability to improve function and high addiction liability. This contributed to a significant and alarming epidemic of opioid overdose deaths and addictions. Innovative scientific solutions to develop alternative pain treatment options are thus critically needed.
Through targeted research efforts, the NIH’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative® aims to support the development of safe and effective therapeutics and devices to treat pain with little or no addiction liability. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is designed to support integrated efforts of three or more (up to six) PDs/PIs to pursue bold, impactful, and challenging research in basic and clinical pain domains to understand the biology of specific human pain conditions as well as pain associated with various diseases/disorders and pain across the lifespan, including mechanistic underpinning of heterogeneity and stratification of patients with specific pain conditions and co-morbidities. The research approach should be interdisciplinary in nature, and the research teams are expected to establish a common goal that requires collaboration, synergy, and managed team interactions. Proposed research should support a cohesive, single, well-integrated research plan with a singular focus, one set of aims, and a budget without subprojects. Proposed research should not represent a collection of individual efforts or parallel projects. Teams must leverage appropriate multi-disciplinary expertise to develop new principles and methods for experimentation, analysis, and interpretation. Teams are encouraged to consider transformative objectives with defined 5-year outcomes that will produce major advances in the understanding of human pain conditions and are likely to improve strategies for effective management of human pain.
This FOA encourages a team of investigators with expertise in multiple disciplines to pursue coordinated research that could integrate diverse areas of expertise under one umbrella, including (but not limited to):
Projects should be focused on a specific pain condition, including but not limited to acute pain, chronic pain, painful neuropathy, musculoskeletal pain, headache, osteoarthritis, diabetic neuropathy, chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, eye pain, sickle-cell pain, post-surgical pain, cancer pain, visceral pain, obstetric pain, gynecologic pain, post stroke pain, myofascial pain, painful disorders of the orofacial region, pain co-occurring with substance use disorders, pain conditions across the lifespan including in the context of aging, and other conditions will be considered. Applications focused on conditions that are commonly treated with opioids and/or other substances with high misuse potential and/or with high addiction potential are a high program priority for the NIH HEAL Initiative®.
For additional information regarding examples, see URL for Full Text (RFP) link, below.