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Be in it for the Long Haul: A Commentary on Human Tissue Recovery Initiatives

      Highlights

      • Translational efforts can be facilitated by investigations of human nervous system tissues.
      • Putative preclinical analgesic targets must be expressed in the relevant human cells.
      • Establishing human relevance enhances the value of mechanistic animal studies.
      • Multi-omic databases of human tissue data are growing rapidly.
      • Human tissue investigations require sustained research support and planning.

      Abstract

      The strong need for a new foundational molecular framework for human nervous system research at the nociceptive level is now matched by comprehensive and quantitative capabilities for analyzing nociceptive tissues such as pathologic peripheral tissue, damaged peripheral nerve, dorsal root ganglia, spinal cord, and brain, where possible. However, this idea must be matched by equally strong organization and infrastructures for multisite tissue recovery, molecular analyses, data sharing, and long-term archiving. Experience from other human tissue analysis projects shows that a decades-long activity may be expected, hence “Be in it for the long haul.” While certain milestones can be met fairly quickly, others aimed at molecular and neuroanatomical characterization of chronic pain disorders will require the sustained attention of the groups involved. This can yield a valuable addition to basic and translational pain research and the development of new treatments whose targets are validated directly in humans.

      Perspective

      A concerted effort is needed to build human nociceptive tissue banks for multi-omic research. In addition to collecting tissue, a careful characterization of pain problems from donors is essential, as is a parallel effort to assess their concurrent medical problems, medications, and the many variables of general human activity and lifestyle that can impact the results. Given the projected long time frame, in addition to maintaining funding, sustaining motivation and momentum are critical factors for success.

      Key words

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