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Professor David Bennett is leading a new national research consortium to investigate neuropathic pain.

PAINSTORM (Partnership for Assessment and Investigation of Neuropathic Pain: Studies Tracking Outcomes, Risks and Mechanisms) is part of the new Advanced Pain Discovery Platform, a major investment led by the Medical Research Council and supported by the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund and Versus Arthritis. It will involve NDCN colleagues Professor David Bennett, Professor Irene Tracey, Associate Professor Annina Schmid, Clinical Lecturer Andreas Themistocleous, Research Co-investigator Georgios Baskozos, and Project Manager Mathilde Pascal.

I believe that PAINSTORM, both due to its scale and embedded interdisciplinary interactions, can bring a perspective to neuropathic pain which has previously not been possible even on a global scale. I look forward to working with all our academic partners, industry and our patient partners, ultimately to make a positive impact on the lives of those living with neuropathic pain. - Professor David Bennett, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences

The Oxford team will be working closely with patient partners; academic colleagues in Dundee, Aberdeen, Imperial, King's College London and Ghent; and industry partners Lilly and AstraZeneca. The aim is that this inter-disciplinary collaboration will help translate the research into effective, multifaceted interventions.

Neuropathic pain has a major impact on quality of life, affecting 8% of the population. It is caused by damage to the sensory nervous system, through conditions such as diabetes, chemotherapy and HIV. Current management options are only effective in a small subgroup of patients, and much of the research and clinical management in this area is separate rather than being interdisciplinary.

PAINSTORM will use a broad range of approaches cutting across traditional disciplinary boundaries, to uncover the causes of neuropathic pain and understand how they interact, from molecule to society. The focus will be on studying people at risk of neuropathic pain and following their progress over time.

PAINSTORM will be investigating the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying neuropathic pain, improving outcome measures/pain biomarkers and ultimately translating this into better management of neuropathic pain. The team hope to improve the targeting of existing analgesics as well as identify new therapeutic targets and optimise psychological and physical interventions.

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