Major Grant To Study Chronic Pain Announced at Harvard

Major Grant To Study Chronic Pain Announced at Harvard

The Harvard Medical School announced this week a project it says may “transform the treatment of chronic pain.”

A consortium based at the Laboratory of Systems Pharmacology (LSP) at Harvard Medical School has launched an ambitious project titled STOP PAIN (Safe Therapeutic Options for Pain and Inflammation) which aims to identify compounds that selectively block the activity of nociceptors–the sensory neurons that sense and initiate pain–with the goal of developing new, preclinical drug candidates that offer an alternative to the opioid-based medications.

The project is led by researchers from HMS and Boston Children’s Hospital, with collaborators from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Germany.

It is supported by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through the Panacea program, which aims to engender new therapies that address under-met medical needs of active duty soldiers and veterans. The DARPA cooperative agreement includes funding of over $23-million.

The STOP PAIN consortium encompasses expertise across research disciplines, including neurobiology, systems pharmacology, stem cell biology, and computational and medicinal chemistry.

Peter Soger is the Otto Krayer Professor of Systems Pharmacology and director of the Harvard Program in Therapeutic Science (HiTS) and the LSP at HMS.

“We have substantial opportunities today to combine new laboratory methods, advanced chemistry and artificial intelligence and bring those tools to bear on the enormous societal, scientific and medical challenges of pain management,” Peter Sorger said.

Efforts to develop nonopioid pain therapies have been largely unsuccessful, highlighted, for example, by the high-profile recall of the prescription pain and inflammation drug Vioxx in 2014. Currently available medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are not as effective as opioids and, when used long-term, can have adverse side effects that include gastrointestinal bleeding and liver damage.

Due to the lack of viable alternatives, prescription opioids remain a primary therapeutic option for the management of both acute and chronic pain.

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Authored by: Staff

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@Sister hun I am so sorry for your loss. Yes the government, doctors, hospitals did fail your sister and should be held accountable. I am putting together a presentation to present to a law professor who might represent us/cpp/families of #SuicideDue2Pain victims, those who have died from the unintended consequences of untreated pain or under treatment of pain. I am interviewing family members of those lost so they, attorneys are fully aware of the true reality here in pain community. Would you mind if I asked you a few questions? My email address is please let me know. It would definitely make a huge impact coming from someone outside of pain community.
Xxxxoooo ty again I am so sorry for your loss


Oh, the irony of that last paragraph.

“Due to the lack of viable alternatives, prescription opioids remain a primary therapeutic option for the management of both acute and chronic pain.”

So opioids help with chronic pain, but guess what? You can’t get any - you’ll have a difficult time finding a doctor who’s willing to prescribe opioids. And now that you’ve asked for opioids, you’re labeled as “drug-seeking.” *sigh*

This new study sounds promising, but even if a viable alternative is discovered, the FDA’s New Drug Approval process is lengthy and expensive. It will be years and years before any discoveries actually make it to market. Hopefully, by then something else will have become the new Big Bad, and chronic pain patients can go back to the opioid medications that we were stable on for many years.


I lost my sister who suffered from chronic pain for over 20 years. She underwent surgeries, sought out every kind of doctor from neurologist to pain management and tried every kind of therapy and medication to help her. Her primary care kept her on opioids for many years (which never relieved her pain). Then the government stepped in and cut back her daily dosage. The suffering became unbearable. She decided to eliminate the medications under hospital, then an accredited detox center. The medications they gave made her worse. She developed a heart condition and found herself in the emergency room several times, but they couldn’t do anything to help. Doctors just don’t know how to treat this kind of patient. After all the years of being so brave and courageous dealing with this pain and having been off all pain medications for over 5 months, her life was over. Everyone in the medical field failed her. She gave everyone the opportunity to help her, but now she’s gone. So now the family has the pain. Something needs to be done! How many more lives will be lost because of the pharmaceutical companies and the government?

Kirby Accardo

We can’t stop it and what if the research comes up with a better product to control pain! At least they are trying and research has been pretty poor in the pain management area. It sounds like it might be positive!! I too live with Chronic Intractable Pain 24/7 and I’m mad at the way pain Medication has been treated, but let’s see what they come up with!


Only for military?

This involves all people, even doctors. Doctors kn that gov & Blackstone group equity groups who are harming health care system .There in 48 states and buying out hospitals & doctors groups. Their claws r in all health care. Ever have to pay deductible before surgery? Harming the patients and controlling doctors decisions.This is way opiates have been lowered, more N.P and insurance cost going up. Blackstone & gov are in together. Read about blackstone.


STOP PAIN by telling the truth about opioids now. Urgent need for patients who are suffering and dying because the only decent treatment is restricted.
Stop pain caused by PROP/CDC/DEA lies.

The truth will stop pain and it doesn’t cost anything.

Decades of studies already proved opioids are safe and effective. Common sense proves they don’t cause addiction or addiction rate would be 99%, not the 1% it is.

Stop pain and save lives now by telling the truth about opioids then spend years and millions on research.

Thomas Mott

This announcement alone is welcomed. But, I suggest that until something proven to be more effective comes to pass, we stop further messing up lives the chronic pain patients who DO find at least partial relief through opioids. That alone would reduce their heightened anxiety about being kicked to the curb and toward suicidal ideation. If this project anounced that no-brainer stance right from the get-go it would do a lot to gain the attention, respect, and support of those who suffer so greatly and of those of us who are their caregivers. IF the project’s staff is unwilling to take such a common-sense and patient focused stance, experience suggests that I be dubious about it.

Linda Olds

The last paragraph is key: “…prescription opioids remain a primary therapeutic option for the management of both acute and chronic pain.”
Research to find alternatives is fine, but in the meantime, doctors (NOT politicians or lawyers) and their patients should be allowed to decide on using and dosing opiates.
Most of the overdose problem is due to people who use multiple, often illegal drugs and abuse legal meds.
The vast majority of chronic pain patients use opiates safely and responsibly.

Daniel Matthews

If they need somebody to show then nerve pain from fibromyalgia, to monitor it. I’m ready when you need me.

In studies they usually do not include chronic pain person on medication hum ? They may not include chronic pain persons that have more tham one pain generator. Will they choose chronic pain persons from different sources of illnesses that cause pain or genetic or caused by accidents or aging or war ?
Most studies pick out the easiest or less effected persons. This will be interesting and hope to all that suffer. How long must we wait ? We are hanging on by shear will, who knows how many have commited suicide waiting for this thread of hope that still may come to late. Waiting……lord will it be 40 yrs in the desert?

They state that their ” PROJECT” MAY transform the treatment of chronic pain. We all know that a PROJECT can take years to complete. We do not have years to wait on something that may not work. They admit that acetaminophen and ibuprofen are not as effective as the opioids but still we are denied the opioids that do help us. Opioids are not a therapeutic option because we are largely denied them and left to suffer in pain with no help. Their PROJECT is another scam and false hope as we sit in pain and wait for their miracle treatment. It might have more weight with us if we are treated effectively for our pain in the meantime while they go after this new PROJECT. I do not trust that we will ever benefit from their PROJECT if it even does work because most of us will be gone.


What’s wrong with just letting pain patients have opioids?… for many of us, they were/are a God-send. This is all about money. Some companies stand to make a fortune here. It’s so sick what is going on.


Animals to be used in this research? I shudder to contemplate what they will do to them.

Katie Olmstead

Well, this is hopeful. I’d sign up as a test case if I weren’t in so much pain (not that I know if they are seeking subjects). Research is good! And if they find useful treatments, then making them available and affordable. You know, covered by insurance! That’s far down the road but at least someone is on the path.

Thomas Wayne Kidd

More totally insanity. I would move to Mexico if I was able. So tired of this evil wicked madness.

Rj Dotts

How can I become a subject for this study…I was an Airborne Ranger now with 100% permanent and total disability rating….I have been on opiates since ~ 1985…..I have EGD documented esophagitis/PUD/duodenum pathology despite being on max dose PPI also since the 1980’s….I lived off NSAIDS since 1979….I now also have renal pathology, decreased renal functions from the NSAIDS/Drinking 1/3 of a 750ml scotch daily/maximum lyrica daily dosage 600 mg/day (note: associated cognitive decline & issues)/active daily suicidal & homicidal with plans and necessary items to carry out my plans, when the VA stopped my opiates….I found a pain doctor who is treating my chronic pain, but the constant fear of once again having my necessary opiate medications keeps both my anxiety/depression active (note: currently been on max BID 2 antidepressants with potential addition of a 3rd antidepressant)….I also suffer from my service connected hypogonadism which the VA treated for years but it was discontinued without any reason or physical exam….I have been a PA since graduating from Duke program in 1984….I was accepted to medical school in 2016 and completed my first year with a 3.555 gpr (note: I had to take a medical leave of absence from medical school); this was done while working full time as a PA within the VA, while filing multiple office of special counsel complaints in addition to multiple IG complaints, in addition to hiring a private attorney to bring lawsuit against the VA for retaliating against me for being whistleblower…..I have worked as a pain medicine provider for nearly a decade….because of the VA stopping my opiate medication, and before Finding a private pain medicine physician to treat me, I was involuntarily retired from the VA as the pain was so great I was unable to work.

Fed Up

Meanwhile, while Hahvahd searches for unobtanium, chronic pain patients, cut off from their medications, continue to die in agony, often by suicide.


As we have been saying opoids are tge only therapeutic means if combating chronic pain. Until there is another means of treatment. We need the spigot turned back on to relieve our pain. Opoids for ALL!!!!!!!!!!


What AmericanCPP said, exactly!

Oh yes. Once again, anything but what works for millions. Let’s throw away $23 million that could be used toward the real problem we have like creating programs that go towards addiction. Considering that you have to have a specific gene to become addicted to opiods let’s just consider that everyone is addicted. Treating pain is complex but withholding what works while doing studies that takes years helps nobody.


Whenever I see Tylenol and aspirin in an article about CP I cringe. That’s like talking about bandaids & Neosporin when discussing amputations.