SPARC Components

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Visceral Pain Circuitry

SPARC5 supports detailed anatomical and functional mapping of neural circuitry mediating visceral organ pain as part of the larger comprehensive NIH strategy to combat the opioid epidemic. In April 2018, the NIH launched the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. The NIH HEAL website lists some of the areas of focus identified as NIH opportunities to combat the current opioid crisis. Translational Devices to Treat Pain (TDTP), a coordinated set of related NINDS and NIBIB initiatives, focuses efforts in the NIH HEAL Initiative in developing non-addictive pain treatments that may displace the need for opioids. TDTP encompasses a full pipeline of device-based approaches for the safe, effective, and non-addictive treatment of pain, from device design and targeting to clinical study. SPARC5 and resulting mapping projects support TDTP by feeding scientific discoveries into this pipeline. 

It is expected that SPARC5 teams will leverage ongoing mapping activities in SPARC, employ new technologies developed by the BRAIN initiative, and deliver novel therapeutic targets to other TDTP Initiatives. Applicants are encouraged to use devices made available through the SPARC program and the BRAIN initiative, along with template partnership documents developed to assist applicants for these NIH programs when establishing industry collaborations and use of collaborators’ existing medical technology in proposed studies. Ultimately, it is hoped that the translation of these discoveries into effective stimulation devices for non-addictive pain treatment will improve patient outcomes and decrease or eliminate the need to prescribe opioids.




This page last reviewed on July 24, 2019