Background: The NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative aims to focus
efforts on advancing scientific solutions to stem the opioid crisis, improving prevention
and treatment of opioid misuse/addiction, and enhancing pain management. Goal: NINDS
is charged with accelerating the discovery and development of new non-addictive pharmacologic
and non-pharmacologic pain therapeutics as part of the HEAL Initiative. NINDS established
the Preclinical Screening Platform for Pain (PSPP) to accelerate and enhance testing
of novel, non-addictive pain therapeutics. This program will evaluate new, as well
as repurposed, small molecules, biologics, devices, and natural products across a
range of pain conditions. PSPP is accepting assets from academic and industry sponsors,
worldwide. Here we describe efforts within the PSPP program. The overall goal of the
PSPP program is to provide an efficient, rigorous, one-stop in vivo screening resource
to accelerate identification and efficacy profiling of non-opioid therapeutics for
the treatment of pain. Under NINDS direction, preclinical testing of submitted agents
is performed by contract facilities on a blinded and confidential basis at no cost
to the PSPP participants. Test candidates are evaluated in a suite of in vivo pain-related
endpoints and models, following in vitro receptor profiling, pharmacokinetic and safety
assessment. Importantly, test candidates are also evaluated in models of abuse liability.
We will describe the advances made to date towards establishing program goals of evaluating
assets in a rigorous and reproducible manner.
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© 2021 Published by Elsevier Inc.