The University of Cincinnati (UC) has formed a partnership with Eli Lilly and Company and the University of Michigan, known as the Midwest Pain Consortium. This consortium model was developed to conduct research projects that address "non-competitive” challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry in its support of improving health care.
Projects within the Midwest Pain Consortium, and those within future similar consortia, will be designed to answer questions that will elicit knowledge beneficial to patients and to all of the pharmaceutical industry, not just to one particular company or institution.
"This innovative partnership brings together exceptional scientists across academia and industry to pursue some of the grand challenges in pain research,” said Dale Edgar, PhD, Lilly Distinguished Research Fellow and global head, Science and Technology Partnerships, Lilly Research Laboratories. "Developing methods and scientific knowledge to better predict which patients will most benefit from current and next-generation pain medicines could be especially important for the field of pain research, with the goal of helping to make life better for people around the world.”
Initial funding from Lilly to launch the program has been designated to cover project and overhead costs for the first consortium-wide study, which will be co-led by Lesley Arnold, MD, UC professor of psychiatry and Dan Clauw, MD, professor of anesthesiology at the University of Michigan.
Researchers will use neuroimaging techniques, including proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy—a non-invasive imaging technique that can quantify the concentration of multiple substances in the brains of conscious humans—to evaluate the central nervous system mechanisms that may be underlying the development of chronic pain in some patients with osteoarthritis.
Results of the study could inform future clinical trials aimed at predicting pain types, which could lead to more targeted treatments for chronic pain.
"According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, chronic pain affects 100 million Americans—more than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined,” said UC President Santa Ono, PhD. "This is a huge challenge that deserves innovative new approaches and collaboration.”
In early 2012, Governor John Kasich named Ono to help lead a state-wide task force exploring ways to attract more biopharmaceutical industry to Ohio and to identify university and industry resources that could enhance collaboration in this arena.