Grand Challenge on Chronic Pain

The Challenge

Chronic pain is a major public health problem, and treatments are limited. More research is needed to fully understand how acute pain evolves into chronic pain, who will develop chronic pain, and how to develop better treatments to prevent the transition. 

Woman in chronic pain
© Matthew Lester

The NIH Pain Consortium, a collaboration of 25 Institutes, Centers, and Offices from across NIH, developed and presented a proposal to support a series of Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) to address the need for additional research on the transition from acute to chronic neuropathic pain. The proposal’s objectives were based on recommendations provided by outside experts during a workshop hosted by the NIH.

The Blueprint Grand Challenge on Chronic Neuropathic Pain seeks to shed light on the molecular, cellular and circuit-level changes – or neuroplasticity – underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain. A key element of the program is to form research collaborations between experts on pain and experts on neuroplasticity to better understand how to successfully intervene at an early stage before the pain becomes chronic.

Across the Federal government, the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC) has performed an analysis of the Federal pain research portfolio and identified the discovery of risk factors and mechanisms that predict and underlie the transition from acute to chronic pain as an important research area that needs further development. This report, as well as a pain research database, recently was released.

Mechanisms of Support

The Grand Challenge on Chronic Pain supports research through:

Title PI Institution Grant Type
Vania Apkarian
Northwestern University
Multi-PI R01
Allan Basbaum
University of California San Francisco
Multi-PI R01
Hui-Lin Pan
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Multi-PI R01
Ru-Rong Ji
Duke University
Multi-PI R01
David Ginty
Johns Hopkins University
Multi-PI R01
Linda Watkins
University of Colorado at Boulder
Multi-PI R01
Veronica Shubayev
University of California San Diego
Multi-PI R01
Valeria Cavalli
Washington University St. Louis
Multi-PI R01
Lyudmila Vulchanova
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Multi-PI R01


Previously Funded Projects

Title PI Institution Grant Type
Clifford Woolf
Children's Hospital Boston
Competitive Revision
Valeria Cavalli
Washington University St. Louis
Competitive Revision