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Vol. LXIV, No. 13
June 22, 2012

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New Interagency Pain Research Committee Holds First Meeting

Dr. Story Landis chairs the IPRCC

Dr. Story Landis chairs the IPRCC.

Pain is universal. It affects nearly everyone at some point in life. In fact, more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain conditions that cost roughly $600 billion annually in medical bills and lost productivity.

To address the problem, the Department of Health and Human Services created the interagency pain research coordinating committee (IPRCC), which held its inaugural meeting at NIH recently. The group, which serves as a federal advisory committee, was formed as part of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to enhance research efforts and promote collaboration across the government.

“We have a remarkable collection of members, bringing an extraordinary range of views and perspectives on pain,” said NINDS director Dr. Story Landis, who chaired the meeting. “Congress is looking to us to work together to coordinate the federal government’s pain research effort.”

IPRCC consists of 7 federal members and 12 non-federal members (6 from scientific/medical communities; 6 from public/stakeholder groups).

“The burden of pain in the 21st century is enormous,” said NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, in welcoming remarks. “Reducing this burden is going to take a lot of work, research and coordination. We hope to gain from your expertise and to expand our focus of pain research through effective partnerships. This group will help in propelling pain research forward.”

Collins also gave the group its charge from the Affordable Care Act. IPRCC will develop a summary of pain care research advances supported or conducted by the federal government and identify critical gaps in basic and clinical pain research.

Committee member Dr. Sean Mackey of Stanford University provided an overview of the Institute of Medicine’s 2011 report, Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education and Research.

“NIH has already implemented a number of the IOM’s recommendations,” said Landis, giving an update on NIH’s response to the report:

  • NINDS plans to establish an office to support all activities of the NIH Pain Consortium and the IPRCC. (NINDS is lead IC for NIH’s pain research.)
  • The NIH Pain Consortium—which promotes research collaboration across ICs—has organized or funded a number of pain disorder conferences to identify gaps and opportunities and has established new trans-NIH working groups on chronic pain.
  • NIH recently established an NIH-FDA leadership council to improve regulatory science and the drug development pipeline.
  • NIH supports a wide range of interdisciplinary pain research efforts and currently supports longitudinal studies on a number of chronic pain conditions.

The afternoon included a presentation on FDA’s Analgesic Clinical Trial Translations, Innovations, Opportunities and Networks (ACTTION), a model public-private partnership. At the end of the day, the group formally elected Landis to serve as IPRCC chair.

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