Pain is central to many medical conditions and ailments, and has a tremendous impact on quality of life, health care costs and economic productivity. However, the causes of pain, and pathways to new and more effective therapies, are still shrouded in mystery.
As a result of the DeGroote family gift, a world-class institute has been created at McMaster University to focus the clear, piercing light of science and medicine on this age-old problem. Encompassing an array of technologies, disciplines and specialties, the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care (IPRC) is exploring the causes of a number of different types of pain, developing new strategies for its prevention, diagnosis and management, and innovative care for patients.
The institute places a special emphasis is on thalamic pain. This type of pain is centred in the thalamus of the brain and may cause sufferers to experience numerous forms of discomfort. Michael DeGroote himself has suffered from a severe form of thalamic pain after experiencing a stroke.
The institute's medical director is respected clinician Dr. Akbar Panju, chief of the Department of Medicine of the Hamilton Health Sciences hospitals. Scientific director of the institute is Dr. Norm Buckley, Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesia. Dr. Buckley is also director of the associated Michael G. DeGroote National Pain Centre. The National Pain Centre draws on McMaster's expertise in evidence-based medicine to develop guidelines for the treatment of chronic pain, complementing the clinical and basic research arms of the institute.
The SPOR Chronic Pain Network led by Dr. Norm Buckley was awarded $12.5 million from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) under Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) . Dr. Buckley, Scientific Director for the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care will bring national teams together to carry out laboratory and clinical research studies to identify new treatments to manage and prevent chronic pain. Patients and professionals will be trained to work together. Training programs will develop new researchers and support education for healthcare professionals about pain and its treatment. A network of pain clinics across the country will support large scale studies of pain treatment and ensure that new knowledge is quickly moved into practice. The SPOR Chronic Pain Network will be a patient-centred project that engages patients as partners, focusing on patient-identified priorities to improve their health outcomes, identify new treatments, and deliver a more effective health care system to Canadians. See the official announcement by Canada’s Health Minister here
The new North American Pain School is accepting admissions for 2016. Registration deadline is February 28 for the June 26-30, 2016 event. This is a unique educational and networking experience for the next generation of basic science and clinical pain researchers. www.northamericanpainschool.com