APS E-News | Advocacy Update Report | July 2018
NIH Supports HEAL Initiative
As part of the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, the National Institute of Health (NIH) will support research on how chronic pain develops and on new treatments to alleviate chronic pain. HEAL will develop a data sharing collaborative, new biomarkers for pain, and a clinical trials network for testing new pain therapies.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has released Notices of Intent to Publish Funding Opportunity Announcements to support a Clinical Trials Network on Pain Research. The notices provide initial information intended to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop collaborations and project proposals.
In a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, NIH leaders explained components of a newly released research plan for the HEAL Initiative. With a focus on two primary areas—improving treatments for opioid misuse and addiction and enhancing strategies for pain management—the plan describes a multifaceted program encompassing preclinical, clinical, drug repurposing, and community-based approaches.
NIH reports initial investments of the $500 million appropriated by Congress for fiscal year 2018 to bolster NIH’s research efforts in addiction and pain. Critical components of the HEAL research plan for fiscal year 2018 include
- developing extended-release and longer-acting opioid use disorder (OUD) medications and new therapies to counteract opioid-induced respiratory depression
- reformulating current medication-assisted treatments (MAT) to promote adherence to recovery programs by Americans on OUD medications
- supporting discovery and development of targets for nonaddictive pain management, and therapies to treat those targets
- collecting data to determine what factors lead acute pain to transition to chronic pain and how to block that transition
- partnering with public and private groups to test effective treatments for pain and addiction using HEAL’s clinical trial networks
- expanding NIH’s Advancing Clinical Trials in Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal syndrome (ACT NOW) to assess its prevalence and determine best practices for clinical care of infants with this condition
- advancing new models of care for OUD and test integrated, evidence-based interventions within healthcare and criminal justice settings through the multisite HEALing Communities initiative.