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Reducing individual suffering and the socio-economic burden of chronic pain

The overall objective of QSPainRelief is to discover effective novel combination treatments, using existing drugs in chronic pain treatment and applying a quantitative systems pharmacology (QSP) pain relief approach, by developing an in silico discovery QSPainRelief platform, that will address the heterogeneity between patients, including sex and gender differences, to ultimately identify the most effective therapeutic interventions to increase pain relief diminish side-effects in individual patients. The identification of promising new combinations of existing drugs could then be directly considered by health care professionals, whilst unfavourable combinations could be avoided or carefully monitored. Both, the identification or the favourable as well as the unfavourable drug combinations, would directly benefit patients.

These are the 5 key objectives of QSPainRelief:

  • To develop a new in silico tool to discover new existing drug combinations to be validated by ethics-controlled preclinical and clinical studies, for better treatment of stratified patient sub-groups and individual patients (personalized medicine) in a cost-effective manner
  • To understand chronic pain, improved analgesia and reduced side effects in patients with chronic pain in a quantitative and predictive manner
  • To understand the influence of age, sex and gender, disease, and genetic factors influencing analgesia and adverse effects of combinational treatments in chronic pain
  • To develop clinical guidance documents, and to disseminate information on results of QSPainRelief to stake-holders like scientists, health care providers, regulators, health insurance agencies, patient organizations, and individual patients, for direct consideration in the clinical setting
  • To provide increased research and innovation opportunities, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
QSPainrelief model

The QSPainRelief model platform assembles mechanistic models for improved insights into the physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) mechanisms of pain medications occurring, for example, at the blood-brain barrier (BBB), at target sites within the central nervous system (CNS), at the cellular and intracellular level, and regarding the neural transduction of the desired pain-relieving effect. The ultimate goal is to gain a better retrospective as well as a better predictive understanding of chronic pain treatment effects in individual patients.