More effective medications for pain are needed, but poorly predictive animal models, changes in biopharmaceutical industry focus, and perceived regulatory and reimbursement concerns have made research challenging. Through a suite of targeted research efforts, the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, will accelerate the discovery and preclinical development of new medications and devices to treat pain.

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Research Programs

This program seeks to validate novel therapeutic targets using a variety of methods and model systems. These targets can be applied to future translational research to speed up the creation of effective non-addictive medications for pain and reduce reliance on opioids. 

The Preclinical Screening Platform for Pain (PSPP) program will create a preclinical testing platform to identify and profile non-addictive therapeutics for pain. This platform will be instrumental in transitioning NIH HEAL Initiative preclinical research into clinical programs.

The NIH HEAL Initiative will support research to develop more accurate research models, use these models to identify potential new therapies, and accelerate studies of novel small molecule and biologic drug candidates for testing in humans.

The NIH HEAL Initiative will support preclinical optimization and development of safe, effective, and non-addictive small molecule and biologic therapeutics to treat pain. 

The NIH HEAL Initiative will advance device-based treatments for people who currently have no effective ways to manage their pain. Research will support target identification, late-stage translational therapeutic and diagnostic device development, verification and validation activities, and early clinical studies.

Through a robust multidisciplinary and trans-NIH project, the NIH HEAL Initiative will advance the discovery and rigorous validation of biomarkers for pain research and treatment. Successful development of biomarkers could help increase the use of biomarkers for patient selection in clinical trials. This could improve the efficacy of clinical trials and increase the chance that new therapeutics will advance to approval.

Funded Projects

2021
Novel Implantable Device to Negate Post-Amputation Pain
Sep 30, 2021
2021
Targeting Endosomal Receptors for Treatment of Chronic Pain
Sep 25, 2021
2021
Development of KLS-13019 for Neuropathic Pain
Sep 25, 2021
2021
Closed-Loop Micromagnetic Neuromodulation as a Non-Opioid Treatment for Neuropathic Pain
Sep 25, 2021
2021
Stem cell-loaded microgels to treat discogenic low back pain
Sep 25, 2021

Open Funding Opportunities

2021
Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for HEAL Initiative: Discovery and Functional Evaluation of Human Pain-associated Genes & Cells (U19 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)[SUBMISSION AND EXPIRATION DATE ARE ESTIMATED]
Dec 28, 2021
2021
Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for HEAL Initiative: Human Pain-associated Genes & Cells Data Coordination and Integration Center (U24 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) [SUBMISSION AND EXPIRATION DATE ARE ESTIMATED]
Dec 28, 2021
2022
HEAL Initiative: Restoring Joint Health and Function to Reduce Pain Consortium (RE-JOIN) (UC2 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Jan 10, 2022
2022
HEAL Initiative: Discovery and Validation of Novel Targets for Safe and Effective Pain Treatment (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Jan 07, 2022
2021
HEAL Initiative: Planning Studies for Initial Analgesic Development [Small Molecules and Biologics] (R61 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Jun 08, 2021

Closed Funding Opportunities

2019
HEAL Initiative: Optimization of Non-addictive Therapies [Small Molecules and Biologics] to Treat Pain - (U44 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Sep 25, 2019
2019
HEAL Initiative: Translational Devices to Treat Pain (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Optional)
Sep 25, 2019
2019
HEAL Initiative: Announcement of the NCATS ASPIRE Design Challenges to Develop Innovative and Catalytic Approaches Towards Solving the Opioid Crisis
Sep 25, 2019
2019
Optimization of Non-addictive Therapies [Small Molecules and Biologics] to Treat Pain (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Sep 25, 2019
2019
HEAL Initiative: Translational Devices to Treat Pain (U44 Clinical Trial Optional)
Sep 25, 2019

Collaboration Opportunities for Developing Drugs and Human Cell-Based Testing Platforms for Pain, Addiction and Overdose

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National Institutes of Health, Office of Extramural Research. Grants & Funding. NIH's central resource for grants and funding information.

Collaboration Opportunities for Developing Drugs and Human Cell-Based Testing Platforms for Pain, Addiction and Overdose

The NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative, or NIH HEAL InitiativeSM, seeks to speed scientific solutions to the national opioid public health crisis.

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