The United States is facing a crisis not only in opioid misuse and overdose, but also in effective treatment options for many suffering from high levels of chronic pain. More and more Americans are suffering from chronic pain, creating an urgent need for safer, more effective pain treatments to reduce long-term reliance on opioids. One major challenge is the ability to prevent chronic pain after an acute pain event. Currently, researchers don’t fully understand how acute pain becomes chronic pain in some people and not others. This is a major barrier to development of effective chronic pain prevention strategies. Markers or a “signature” that could be identified in people at risk to transition to chronic pain could transform how we currently treat patients with acute pain and how we approach prevention of chronic pain. The Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures program is designed to uncover a set of biomarkers that provide a signature predictive of the transition from acute to chronic pain by studying groups of patients over the six months after an acute pain event.
This Common Fund-funded program enhances the objectives of the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM) Initiative, an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. A2CPS-generated data about the transition from acute to chronic pain will benefit the NIH HEAL InitiativeSM research priority to enhance pain management. A2CPS is funded by the NIH Common Fund, and not HEAL, so it represents an additional commitment by the NIH to address the opioid public health crisis.