Goals of Planned National Pain Research Consortium Outlined

January 1, 1997

WASHINGTON--An announcement by NIH director Harold E. Varmus, MD, of a plan to form a national pain research consortium came as a complete, but pleasant surprise to the American Pain Society, Martin Grabois, MD, president of the Society, said in an interview with Oncology News International.

WASHINGTON--An announcement by NIH director Harold E. Varmus, MD, ofa plan to form a national pain research consortium came as a complete,but pleasant surprise to the American Pain Society, Martin Grabois, MD,president of the Society, said in an interview with Oncology News International.

In his keynote address at the Society's Annual Scientific Meeting, Dr.Varmus said that the consortium will comprise representatives from variousbranches of the NIH, including, but not limited to, the National Instituteof Neurological Diseases and Stroke, National Cancer Institute, NationalInstitute on Aging, and National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletaland Skin Diseases.

Dr. Varmus said that the consortium would serve as a centralized clearinghousefor projects and information on pain, help to publicize the aims and accomplishmentsof pain specialists, and foster collaboration and dialogue among scientists,pain societies, advocacy groups, and other members of the pain community.

Proposed Functions of the Planned NIH Pain Research Consortium

Dr. Grabois, professor and chairman of physical medicine and rehabilitation,Baylor College of Medicine, said that the Society was very enthused bythe announcement. If the consortium carries out the goals and functionsDr. Varmus described in his talk (see table above), he said, "I thinkthat would go a long way toward upgrading pain research conducted at NIHor with NIH support." However, he noted that Dr. Varmus included notime frame for the formation of the consortium. "We would like tosee how the plan is implemented and take a look a year later to see howwell the consortium's stated goals have been met."

Charles S. Cleeland, PhD, outgoing president of the Society, said thatthe consortium would bring a "needed level of coordination of painresearch at the NIH." He added that he hoped the consortium "willlook for advice and counsel from the community of patients who suffer painand the professionals who try to help these patients."