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-termSM Initiative, or NIH HEAL InitiativeSM, will accelerate the discovery and preclinical development of new medications and devices to treat pain.

Research Spotlight

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Diagram of the peripheral nerve stimulator system

Research Spotlight

Next-gen Device Could Relieve Phantom Limb Pain

HEAL-funded research aims to improve post-amputation pain management, reducing need for opioids.

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Research Spotlight

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Green and blue Illustration of neurons.

Research Spotlight

A New Pain-Suppression Center in the Brain

Scientists funded by the NIH HEAL Initiative identified neurons in mice that suppress pain processing in the brain.

 

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Research Spotlight

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Image of a nerve stimulator, a kind of electrode, being applied.

Research Spotlight

Nerve Stimulation Helps Manage Pain Without Opioids

Researchers develop a new type of injectable electrode for neuromodulation therapy.

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Research Spotlight

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Traditional pain scale from 0 to 100, visualized with cartoon faces

Research Spotlight

Searching for a Way to Predict Pain

A University of Texas researcher with the NIH HEAL Initiative hopes to create a blood test to measure a person’s sensitivity to 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

2020
A Novel Opioid-Free Targeted Pain Control Method for Acute Post-Operative Localized Pain Related to Oral Surgical Procedures
Mar 19, 2020
2020
A phenotypic screen for osteoarthritic pain therapeutics using all-optical electrophysiology
Mar 19, 2020
2020
A single dose long-acting non-addictive polymer conjugate formulation of buprenorphine that provides immediate and prolonged analgesia for post-operative pain
Mar 19, 2020
2020
An Instrument to Assess the Functional Impact of Chronic Pain
Mar 19, 2020
2020
VALIDATION OF TARGETING MACROPHAGE-MEDIATED EVENTS IN THE DRG TO ALLEVIATE CHRONIC SPINAL CORD INJURY PAIN
Mar 19, 2020

Open Funding Opportunities

2019
Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement Re-issuance for HEAL Initiative: Pragmatic and Implementation Studies for the Management of Pain to Reduce Opioid Prescribing (PRISM) (UG3/UH3, Clinical Trials Optional)
Dec 13, 2019
2019
HEAL Initiative: Development of Therapies and Technologies Directed at Enhanced Pain Management (R41/R42 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Oct 03, 2019
2019
HEAL Initiative: Development of Therapies and Technologies Directed at Enhanced Pain Management (R41/R42 Clinical Trial Required)
Oct 04, 2019
2019
HEAL INITIATIVE: Development of Therapies and Technologies Directed at Enhanced Pain Management (R43/R44 - Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Oct 04, 2019
2019
HEAL INITIATIVE: Development of Therapies and Technologies Directed at Enhanced Pain Management (R43/R44 - Clinical Trial Required)
Oct 04, 2019

Closed Funding Opportunities

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
HEAL Initiative: Optimization of Non-addictive Therapies [Small Molecules and Biologics] to Treat Pain - (U44 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
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: Notice of Interest in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Applications Directed at Enhanced Pain Management and Improved Treatments for Opioid Misuse and Addiction
Sep 25, 2019
2019
HEAL Initiative: Translational Devices to Treat Pain (UG3/UH3 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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