Funded Projects

Project # Project Title Sort descending Research Focus Area Research Program Administering IC(s) Institution(s) Investigator(s) Location(s) Year Awarded
1UG3NS115637-01
Clinical Translation of Ultrasonic Ketamine Uncaging for Non-Opioid Therapy of Chronic Pain Preclinical and Translational Research in Pain Management Translating Discoveries into Effective Devices to Treat Pain NINDS STANFORD UNIVERSITY AIRAN, RAAG D; WILLIAMS, NOLAN R Stanford, CA 2019
FOA Title: HEAL Initiative: Translational Devices to Treat Pain (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Optional)
FOA Number: RFA-NS-19-016
Summary:

The research team has developed ultrasonic drug uncaging for neuroscience, in which neuromodulatory agents are uncaged from ultrasound-sensitive biocompatible and biodegradable drug-loaded nanocarriers. This project will clinically translate ultrasonic ketamine uncaging for chronic pain therapy. In the UG3 phase, the research team will scale our nanoparticle production processes to human scales and adapt them to pharmaceutical standards. In the UH3 phase, they will complete a first-in-human evaluation of the safety and efficacy of ultrasonic ketamine uncaging by quantifying how much ketamine is released relative to the ultrasound dose and assessing whether the uncaged ketamine can modulate the sensitivity and affective response to pain, in patients suffering from chronic osteoarthritic pain. This project aims to yield a novel, noninvasive, non-opioid therapy for chronic pain that maximizes the therapeutic efficacy of ketamine over its side effects, by targeting its action to a critical hub of pain processing.

1UH3NS113661-01
Deep Brain Stimulation of the Subgenual Cingulate Cortex for the Treatment of Medically Refractory Chronic Low Back Pain Preclinical and Translational Research in Pain Management Translating Discoveries into Effective Devices to Treat Pain NINDS UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES BARI, AUSAF Los Angeles, CA 2019
FOA Title: HEAL Initiative: Clinical Devices to Treat Pain (UH3 Clinical Trial Optional)
FOA Number: RFA-NS-19-018
Summary:

This study aims to address critical gaps and unmet therapeutic needs of chronic low back pain (CLBP) patients using a next-generation deep brain stimulation (DBS) device with directional steering capability to engage networks known to mediate the affective component of CLBP. Researchers will utilize patient-specific probabilistic tractography to target the subgenual cingulate cortex (SCC) to engage the major fiber pathways mediating the affective component of chronic pain. The objective is to conduct an exploratory first-in-human clinical trial of SCC DBS for treatment of medically refractory CLBP. The research team aims to: (1) assess the preliminary efficacy of DBS of SCC in treatment of medically refractory CLBP; (2) demonstrate the safety and feasibility of SCC DBS for CLBP; and (3) develop diffusion tensor imaging–based blueprints of response to SCC DBS for CLBP.

1U18EB029351-01
Development of an MRgFUS system for precision-targeted neuromodulation of pain circuits with simultaneous functional MRI Preclinical and Translational Research in Pain Management Translating Discoveries into Effective Devices to Treat Pain NIBIB VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER CASKEY, CHARLES F; CHEN, LI MIN; GRISSOM, WILLIAM A Nashville, Tennessee 2019
FOA Title: HEAL Initiative: Translational Development of Devices to Treat Pain (U18 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
FOA Number: RFA-EB-18-003
Summary:

This project aims to develop a next-generation noninvasive neuromodulation system for non-addictive pain treatments. The research team will build an integrated system that uses magnetic resonance image-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) stimulation to target pain regions and circuits in the brain with high precision. The system will use MR imaging to locate three pain targets commonly used in clinical pain treatments, to stimulate those targets with ultrasound, and to monitor responses of nociceptive pain circuits using a functional MRI readout. Three collaborating laboratories will tackle the goals of this project: (Aim 1) Develop focused ultrasound technology for neuromodulation in humans, compatible with the high magnetic fields in an MRI scanner. (Aim 2) Develop MRI technology to find neuromodulation targets, compatible with focused ultrasound transducers. (Aim 3) Validate the complete MRgFUS neuromodulation system in brain pain regions in nonhuman primates. By the end of the project, the research team will have a fully developed and validated MRgFUS system that is ready for pilot clinical trials in pain management.

1U18EB029353-01
Development of a Wireless Endovascular Nerve Stimulator for Treatment of Refractory Neuropathic Pain Preclinical and Translational Research in Pain Management Translating Discoveries into Effective Devices to Treat Pain NIBIB BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE KAN, PETER TZE MAN; ROBINSON, JACOB T; SHETH, SUNIL Houston, TX 2019
FOA Title: HEAL Initiative: Translational Development of Devices to Treat Pain (U18 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
FOA Number: RFA-EB-18-003
Summary:

For patients with neuropathic pain refractory to therapy using small molecules, modulation of specific neural structures in the central or peripheral nervous system can provide effective alternative treatments. While current Food and Drug Administration–approved devices for dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation are safe and effective, there have been an unfortunate number of adverse events associated with pulse generator infections and lead migration. The research team will develop a wireless, millimeter-sized nerve stimulator that can be delivered through the vasculature and stimulate the DRG to alleviate symptoms of neuropathic pain and the associated minimally invasive delivery method. This endovascular nerve stimulation (EVNS) system depends on development and integration of key novel technologies into an endovascular stent. The magnetoelectric transducers and electronic circuits will convert wireless power and data into stimulus patterns that can trigger neural activity in the DRG via miniature electrodes. After chronic demonstration of safety and functionality in large animal models, the team will prepare for regulatory discussions with the FDA. If successful, the EVNS will provide a technology platform for treating other neuropathic pain syndromes. 

1U44NS115111-01
High-Resolution, Spinal Cord Stimulation for Non-Opioid Treatment of Neuropathic Pain Preclinical and Translational Research in Pain Management Translating Discoveries into Effective Devices to Treat Pain NINDS MICRO-LEADS, INC. MCLAUGHLIN, BRYAN L Somerville, MA 2019
FOA Title: HEAL Initiative: Translational Devices to Treat Pain (U44 Clinical Trial Optional)
FOA Number: RFA-NS-19-017
Summary:

The research team will develop HD64—a high-resolution, 64-channel spinal cord stimulation therapy to provide more pain relief for those suffering from chronic neuropathic pain and opioid dependence. HD64 provides an ultra-thin conformal blanket of stimulation contacts across the width of the spinal cord and enables more precise targeting of the lateral structures of the spinal cord to enhance pain relief. A cadaveric pilot run followed by a non-significant risk intraoperative study will be performed to inform the design parameters of HD64 arrays. The study will evaluate activation of medial and lateral spinal targets. At the end of Phase 1, the clinical feasibility of HD64 surgical leads will be established. In Phase 2, researchers will develop an external active lead pulse generator and charger. They will perform an early feasibility study human trial using active HD64 and mechanical and electrical design verification testing and chronic safety studies in large animals.