• To develop new reliable methods for evaluating the behavioural, emotional and cognitive components of neuropathic pain in rodents.

Novel behavioural mouse operant models based on the ability of a mouse to self-administer an analgesic compound to alleviate chronic pain will be improved to provide a precise evaluation of the emotional and cognitive manifestations of neuropathic pain with the support of sophisticated electrophysiological techniques.

  • To evaluate the influence of emotional traits responsible for the inter-individual variation of neuropathic pain manifestations.

Behavioural, emotional, cognitive and electrophysiological manifestations of neuropathic pain will be characterized in mice displaying extreme personality phenotypes.

  • To identify new targets and biomarkers within the endogenous opioid and cannabinoid systems involved in the behavioural, emotional and cognitive manifestations of neuropathic pain.

The endogenous opioid and cannabinoid system are excellent targets to identify novel mechanisms, biomarkers and druggable targets for neuropathic pain treatment.

  • To define the potential for clinical effectiveness of new analgesic compounds and targets relevant within the opioid and cannabinoid systems.

These new compounds have been developed by the two pharmaceutical companies involved and will be evaluated in the novel animal models of neuropathic pain.

  • To identify biomarkers of neuropathic pain and comorbid states using different human cohorts of neuropathic pain

Through a comprehensive genome-wide search for novel DNA sequence variants associated with various forms of neuropathic pain using methods dissecting out the affective component, we will identify genes harbouring biomarkers associated with neuropathic pain with extensive phenotypic profiles of each variant, charting out biological pathways leading to the development of neuropathic pain.

  • To evaluate the relevance of these new biomarkers of neuropathic pain for the efficacy of novel analgesic compounds.

Combining the human genetics results with the rich phenotypic profiles from corresponding animal studies we hope to identify several new validated drug targets ready to enter clinical trials. We will also assess the effect of the biomarkers associating most strongly with neuropathic pain on treatment outcome in an ongoing clinical trial.