New research opportunity on neuropathic pain in cancer patients at the National Cancer Institute of Milan

Dr Augusto Caraceni, European Palliative Care Research Centre, National Cancer Institute of Milan, Italy, describes an important new programme that offers an exciting opportunity for an early stage researcher.

Dr Augusto Caraceni (centre) with members of the research team at the Palliative Care, Pain Therapy and Rehabilitation Unit of the National Cancer Institute of Milan

The Palliative Care, Pain Therapy and Rehabilitation Unit of the National Cancer Institute of Milan is proud to announce its participation in a European Union-funded Marie Curie Programme on neuropathic pain. The PAIN-Net programme, based on a highly innovative platform of training-through-research and strongly committed to such objectives, will support talented and inspired early stage researchers. Their research projects, embedded in an advanced molecule-to-man pain network, will contribute to better understanding individual susceptibility to pain and analgesics responsiveness.

This project is based on a significant clinically unmet need. Neuropathic pain affects five per cent of the general population and 40 per cent of patients with neurological diseases, and has a key role in the pathophysiology of cancer pain that affects up to 50 per cent of patients and 30 per cent of survivors, causing an enormous social burden. Treatments are inadequate with less than 50 per cent of patients achieving 50 per cent of pain relief at best, while up to 30 per cent of cancer pain patients experience insufficient analgesia. Signatures of individual susceptibility to pain and analgesic responsiveness are urgently needed to improve patients’ management. Such advances are expected to originate from integrated clinical, basic science and entrepreneurial research readily translating scientific findings into benefits for patients. To consolidate these aims, a new generation of scientists with wide knowledge in neuropathic pain, focused research skills and experience in the interaction with biotechnology companies is needed.

An opportunity to get involved

Our team is currently looking for a young researcher to join us. We need a researcher to perform a thorough assessment of pain cancer patients to determine the definition and the impact of neuropathic pain in patients with cancer, including clinical and genetic factors associated with the degree of responsiveness to opioid analgesia.

The Early Stage Researcher (ESR) will become familiar with structured pain phenotyping using a validated set of tools for neuropathic pain (Edmonton Classification System for Cancer Pain, Douleur Neuropathique questionnaire, EORTC QLQ-C30, 11-point Lickert Numerical Rating Score, Brief Pain Inventory, Therapy Impact Questionnaire). Moreover, the ESR will learn to use tools for pain diagnosis and quantitative assessment of sensory function (Quantitative Sensory Testing QST).

The PAIN-Net programme will offer a young researcher a unique opportunity to enhance their scientific competency and to prepare for a high-level career in applied research in either an academic or commercial setting.

If you wish to learn more about this project, to apply to this programme, or to recommend the participation of other candidates, please check the vacancy advertisement.

Links

The Palliative Care, Pain Therapy and Rehabilitation Unit of the National Cancer Institute of Milan.

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