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Envisioning adequate pain relief for all chronic pain patients upon treatment

We envision a future in which patients suffering from chronic pain can be treated much faster and more effectively according to their individual genetic setup and medical history. Chronic pain severely reduces the patients’ quality of life, their ability to work, and their socio-economic contribution in society. 20% of Europeans suffer from chronic pain, and up to 60% of these patients don’t receive effective treatment. It is crucial to help affected individuals.

QSPainRelief is an acronym for the full project title and the consortium’s goal, namely “Effective combinational treatment of chronic pain in individual patients by an innovative Quantitative Systems Pharmacology (QSP) pain relief approach”. In this 5-year-long EU-funded research project, world-leading experts on chronic pain, pharmacology, pharmacogenomics, personalised medicine, systems biology, and in silico modelling join forces to develop novel, personalised, and effective combinational treatments of existing medications.

The overarching goal is to identify alternative combinational treatment paradigms, with improved analgesia (pain relief) and reduced adverse effects via a mechanism-based QSP approach, using algorithms and advanced in silico technologies, and then validate the most promising combinational medication paradigms in preclinical models, in healthy volunteers, and in clinical practice.

Expected impacts of QSPainRelief, creating direct benefits for chronic pain patients, are the following:

  • Development and implementation of novel combinational treatment strategies in clinical practice
  • Higher treatment efficacy due to personalised medicine and effective patient stratification
  • Improved acceptance of combinational therapies in the clinical setting
  • Reduced stigmatisation of chronic pain as a health condition through improved and clear communication to and with the general public

A major strength of QSPainRelief is that the in silico pharmacological modelling is based on existing medications and published data, an approach that avoids the uncertainty of de novo R&D and is likely to create real-world impact and help chronic pain patients already within the 5-year runtime of the project or shortly thereafter.

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