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Translational Pain Research: Achievements and Challenges

  • Jianren Mao
    Correspondence
    Address reprint requests to Jianren Mao, MGH Center for Translational Pain Research, Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114.
    Affiliations
    MGH Center for Translational Pain Research, Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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      Abstract

      The achievements in both preclinical and clinical pain research over the past 4 decades have led to significant progress in clinical pain management. However, pain research still faces enormous challenges and there remain many obstacles in the treatment of clinical pain, particularly chronic pain. Translational pain research needs to involve a number of important areas including: 1) bridging the gap between pain research and clinical pain management; 2) developing objective pain-assessment tools; 3) analyzing current theories of pain mechanisms and their relevance to clinical pain; 4) exploring new tools for both preclinical and clinical pain research; and 5) coordinating research efforts among basic scientists, clinical investigators, and pain-medicine practitioners. These issues are discussed in this article in light of the achievements and challenges of translational pain research.

      Perspective

      The subjective nature of clinical pain calls for innovative research approaches. As translational pain research emerges as an important field in pain medicine, it will play a unique role in improving clinical pain management through coordinated bidirectional research approaches between bedside and bench.

      Key words

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