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Press Releases

May 10, 2013

Brain Imaging and Biomarkers in Pain

Brain imaging for pain is still somewhat controversial. The PainResearchForum.org article: A Brain Signature for Physical Pain? (http://www.painresearchforum.org/news/27192-brain-signature-physical-pain) showcases a new functional MRI-based test detailed in the April 11 New England Journal of Medicine that investigators are calling a “neurologic signature of pain” and contrasts that against views over whether imaging can play a significant role in accurately reporting chronic pain. 

Questions over imaging as an accurate measurement in the individual are brought up by Karen Davis of the University of Toronto, “Besides raising technical issues, Davis questioned the rationale behind the hunt for a brain biomarker for the experience of pain. She said biomarkers that give doctors insight into neurological pathology, or suggest which treatments are likely to work in individual patents, or predict side effects, will be useful. But, she said, “Pain by definition is a subjective experience, and so the self-report of the pain experience is what tells us if someone is in pain, and should not and need not be replaced by an imaging measure." Does individual subjectivity of pain outweigh the potential for brain biomarkers? I look forward to your comments.

The issues of chronic pain and fMRI will also be part of the 7th Annual Pain and Migraine Therapeutics Summit in Boston, MA on September 25 & 25, 2013 (http://www.paintherapeuticsummiteast.com) and in San Diego, CA on November 7 & 8, 2013 (http://www.paintherapeuticsummit.com). This bi-coastal conference will bring together industry, academic and government leaders in the fields of pain research and drug development to discuss novel research, drug discovery, clinical development and commercialization. Leaders in these fields are also encouraged to participate on the speaking faculty (www.paintherapeuticsummit.com/speaking-opportunities).

Speakers (to date) include:
• Stephen Arneric, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, Eli Lilly & Co.
• Tom McCarthy, Ph.D., CEO & Managing Director, Spinifex Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd.
• Nadia Rupniak, Ph.D., VP, Research & Development, CoLucid Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
• Travis Mickle, Ph.D., President, CEO, KemPharm, Inc.
• Michael Iadarola, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, Anesthesiology Research Laboratories, Department of Perioperative Medicine, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health
• Ernest Kopecky, Ph.D., MBA, VP, Clinical Development, Head, Neuroscience TA, Collegium Pharmaceutical, Inc.
• Susan Horn, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Institute for Clinical Outcomes Research, Vice President, Research, International Severity Information Systems, Inc.
• Nathaniel Katz, MD, President, Analgesic Solutions
• Bruce Hammock, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Department of Entomology & UCD Comprehensive Cancer Center, PI, NIH Biotechnology Training Program, UC Davis
• C. Lowell Parsons, MD, Professor of Surgery/Urology, School of Medicine, UC San Diego
• Michael Lark, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer & Sr. VP, Research, Trevena, Inc.

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