Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures Program


The Research Need

Chronic pain is a public health crisis. It affects 50 million Americans, approximately 20 million of whom have chronic pain that is severe enough to limit life or work activities. Between 28 percent and 61 percent of people develop chronic pain after they experience acute pain from certain types of injuries or surgery. Better understanding why acute pain becomes chronic pain in some patients and not others could help improve approaches to treating and preventing chronic pain.

About the Program

To understand the biological characteristics of people who are susceptible to transition from acute to chronic pain, the Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures (A2CPS) Program will support two longitudinal studies on large cohorts of patients who experience acute pain resulting from a surgical procedure or a musculoskeletal trauma.

The program will collect neuroimaging, -omics, sensory testing, and psychosocial data for several months after the acute pain event to form a comprehensive data set. Analyzing the data could help researchers develop ways to predict which patients will recover and which patients will develop long-lasting chronic pain.

The ultimate goals of this research are to:

  • Define a signature to predict who is at risk for and who is resilient to developing chronic pain.
  • Guide pain management approaches to prevent lasting pain, potentially reducing reliance on opioids.

Program Details

The A2CPS Program is structured as a consortium with two multisite clinical centers, a clinical coordinating center, a data integration resource center, and an -omics data generation center. The program will advance the NIH HEAL Initiative’s research priority to enhance pain management and strengthen efforts to address the opioid crisis.

Read more about the Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures Program.

The program is supported by the NIH Common Fund, managed by the Office of Strategic Coordination in the Office of the Director, which supports cross-cutting trans-NIH programs that involve multiple Institutes and Centers. Learn more about the NIH Common Fund.

NIH research program to explore the transition from acute to chronic pain

NIH. National Institutes of Health

NIH research program to explore the transition from acute to chronic pain

The National Institutes of Health has launched the Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures (A2CPS) program to investigate the biological characteristics underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain.

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