Heike Rittner and Sulayman Dib-Hajj are co-chairs for this year’s Global Year Task Force. During the 2022 Global Year, we plan to disseminate the knowledge that has been gained in research – spanning the spectrum of investigations from molecules to the patient in his or her biopsychosocial context of pain – to researchers, clinicians, multidisciplinary healthcare professionals and patients worldwide.
Global Year Goals:
- Communicate accumulating knowledge about pain from recent research
- Distribute successful translation stories and lessons learned
- Highlight challenges in designing new and more predictive pre-clinical studies and the novel approaches to overcome these challenges
Conceptual and technical innovations in many areas of pain research have substantially expanded our understanding of the pathophysiological basis of pain. Genetic studies of rare human disorders have identified the molecular basis of these pain syndromes. Technological breakthroughs have ushered the era of peering into the makeup of nociceptors at the single cell and molecular level. Sophisticated imaging approaches have permitted the observation of peripheral primary afferents and brain circuits in action. The advent of induced pluripotent stem cells from adults reprogrammed into nociceptors has the promise to make personalized medicine for pain patients an achievable goal. Gene therapy and the use of biologics have become mainstream approaches in basic research and are being actively pursued in early clinical studies.
In parallel, numerous clinical studies now allow for state-of-the-art diagnostic. The outline of the new ICD-11 classification with precise clinical diagnostic codes for pain syndrome and updated treatment guidelines supported these efforts. This includes the biopsychosocial understanding of chronic pain and its interdisciplinary multimodal treatment programs across the world. However, major challenges remain ahead of us to translate molecular and system medicine advances into clinical practice. For example, it is now clear that placebo effects are major confounders in clinical trials. Secondly, the lack of molecular or clinical biomarkers of pain has hampered the objective assessment of pain relief in clinical trials. Patient stratification for clinical trials as well as for targeted treatment remains work in progress. The 2022 Global Year aims to share the current evidence and how translation of pain knowledge can be utilized by health care professional for their patients.
The task force has prepared several fact sheets summarizing many aspects of translation of pain knowledge into practice. Chapters, SIGs and IASP members have been invited to produce webinars that further develop the translation of pain knowledge into practice.
Translation-related articles in PAIN and PAIN Reports will be freely accessible to everyone. The World Congress on Pain, September 19-23, in Toronto, will have several workshops and events on this topic.
During the pandemic, pain research has made tremendous advances. We invite you to work with the task force and IASP to disseminate the advances in pain research and their translation for the benefit of patients.