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 was created at McMaster to focus the clear, piercing light of science and medicine on this age-old problem. Encompassing an array of technologies, disciplines and specialties, the institute is exploring the causes of a number of different types of pain, looking to develop new strategies for its prevention, diagnosis and management, and development of innovative care for patients.
A special emphasis will be 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 as a result of 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 pain institute is Dr. Norm Buckley, Professor and Chair, Department of Anesthesia.
Unlike many research facilities that function independently or in isolation, the researchers of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care are seamlessly integrated with the world-class research already under way at McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences. Members of the institute bring to their work the insights and approaches from a number of different disciplines and facilities at McMaster. This gives a depth of understanding, a scope of work, the research resources, and a leadership potential unusual for such a young institute. It is the institute’s policy to recruit experts who have demonstrated excellence, not only in research, but in clinical care. This brings to the institute’s cadre a number of the country’s leading clinicians in the area of arthritis, cardiology, gastroenterology, internal medicine, neurology, population health, surgery, and others. The potential for relevant, groundbreaking clinical trials is enormous.
The Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care is flawlessly integrated with the resources, faculty and staff of McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences — a research-intensive academic health sciences university possessing some of the most advanced scientific and medical facilities in North America. These facilities enable the institute to pursue innovative investigations utilizing a broad range of technologies and approaches.
This institute is housed on the second floor of the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery.