Improving the care of patients suffering from acute or chronic pain


Patients with a wide range of conditions may experience pain in the short or long term, and all too often, painkillers prove ineffective. Developing new analgesics is extremely challenging, and all too often, promising results in the lab do not translate into effective treatments for patients. The goal of IMI-PainCare is to develop a toolbox that will aid in the development of novel painkillers. The project comprises three sub-projects, which between them address all stages of drug development, from early-stage research to clinical practice.

PROMPT aims to develop patient-reported outcomes that will capture in a standardised way patients’ perceptions of their pain. This information will help to show during clinical trials whether or not a treatment is actually effective at alleviating pain, for example.

BioPain will draw on electrophysiological and imaging technologies to establish models of pain in healthy humans and rodents. This will contribute to the development of markers of pain that are relevant in both rodents and humans; this will increase researchers’ chances of translating findings in the lab into new treatments for patients.

TRiPP focuses on pelvic pain caused by endometriosis and interstitial cystitis / bladder pain syndrome. The team hopes to identify different subgroups of patients; information that will help to deliver more personalised treatments for these debilitating conditions.

The IMI-PainCare consortium plans to work with regulators to validate the tools developed.

Achievements & News

Receptor in bladder could spell new drug target for urological diseases

Researchers from the IMI-PainCare project have found evidence that a receptor called σ1-R, or sigma-1, is present in the human urinary bladder, and suggest that the receptor could be targeted to increase the efficacy of pain drugs.###

The burden of painful bladder and cystitis is huge, and it's a problem that disproportionately affects women. In a new report, IMI-PainCare researchers document the functional role of the sigma-1 receptor in cystitis by comparing responses in animal models, concluding that it could offer a potential new drug target for the treatment of diseases involving the urinary system.  

They found that drugs that block the action of this receptor can improve the manifestations of cystitis. The paper concludes that this presents a potentially attractive new drug target for testing in human urinary bladder disorders for which there is currently no adequate treatment, and a sigma-1 antagonist called E-52862 is currently in Phase 2 studies in patients with neuropathic pain. The compound could be used together with morphine and would allow for lower morphine dosing, while at the same time decreasing inflammation, potentially enhancing recovery.

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EFPIA companies
  • Bayer Aktiengesellschaft, Leverkusen, Germany
  • Eli Lilly And Company LTD, Basingstoke, United Kingdom
  • Grunenthal GMBH, Aachen, Germany
  • Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, Switzerland
  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, Netanya, Israel
Universities, research organisations, public bodies, non-profit groups
  • Aalborg Universitet, Aalborg OE, Denmark
  • Aarhus Universitet, Aarhus C, Denmark
  • Assistance Publique Hopitaux De Paris, Paris, France
  • Children'S Hospital Corporation, Boston, United States
  • Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet Zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc Asbl, Brussels, Belgium
  • European Pain Federation Efic, Aarschot, Belgium
  • European Society Of Anaesthesiology And Intensive Care Aisbl, Bruxelles, Belgium
  • European Society Of Regional Anaesthesia And Pain Therapy, Homberg, Germany
  • Fundacion Para La Investigacion Del Hospital Clinico De La Comunitat Valenciana, Fundacion Incliva, Valencia, Spain
  • Hus-Yhtyma, Helsinki, Finland
  • Institut National De La Sante Et De La Recherche Medicale, Paris, France
  • Instituto De Biologia Molecular E Celular-Ibmc, Porto, Portugal
  • King'S College London, London, United Kingdom
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, United States
  • Queen Mary University Of London, London, United Kingdom
  • Region Hovedstaden, Hilleroed, Denmark
  • Ruprecht-Karls-Universitaet Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  • The University Of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Universidad De Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
  • Universita Degli Studi Di Roma La Sapienza, Roma, Italy
  • Universitaet Muenster, Münster, Germany
  • Universitatsklinikum Jena, Jena, Germany
  • Universite Catholique De Louvain, Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium
  • University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized companies (<€500 m turnover)
  • Actual Analytics LTD, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Consultech Technologieberatung GMBH, Berlin, Germany
  • Endodiag, Evry, France
  • Endometriosis.Org LTD, London, United Kingdom
  • Mrc Systems GMBH Medizintechnische Systeme, Heidelberg, Germany
  • Promptly - Software Solutions For Health Measures SA, Porto, Portugal
Patient organisations
  • Pelvic Pain Support Network, Poole, United Kingdom
  • Stichting International Painful Bladder Foundation, Naarden, Netherlands

NameEU funding in €
Aalborg Universitet18 770
Aarhus Universitet555 713
Actual Analytics LTD114 413
Assistance Publique Hopitaux De Paris295 038
Children'S Hospital Corporation165 668
Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet Zu Kiel255 000
Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc Asbl134 044
Consultech Technologieberatung GMBH486 266
Endometriosis.Org LTD7 510
European Pain Federation Efic31 250
European Society Of Anaesthesiology And Intensive Care Aisbl25 000
European Society Of Regional Anaesthesia And Pain Therapy25 000
Fundacion Para La Investigacion Del Hospital Clinico De La Comunitat Valenciana, Fundacion Incliva257 066
Hus-Yhtyma187 250
Institut National De La Sante Et De La Recherche Medicale881 329
Instituto De Biologia Molecular E Celular-Ibmc351 901
King'S College London293 808
Michigan State University29 549
Mrc Systems GMBH Medizintechnische Systeme144 000
Pelvic Pain Support Network7 510
Promptly - Software Solutions For Health Measures SA30 000
Queen Mary University Of London21 484
Region Hovedstaden7 500
Ruprecht-Karls-Universitaet Heidelberg1 019 588
Stichting International Painful Bladder Foundation7 510
The University Of Edinburgh288 953
Universidad De Navarra123 500
Universita Degli Studi Di Roma La Sapienza573 288
Universitaet Muenster1 064 750
Universitatsklinikum Jena1 608 584
Universite Catholique De Louvain552 488
University College Cork - National University Of Ireland, Cork (left the project)68 687
University of Oxford1 592 860
Total Cost11 225 277