HBI Members Honoured by Pfizer Canada with Neuropathic Pain Awards
Pfizer Canada recently announced the recipients of its third Neuropathic Pain Research Awards Competition, which aims to fund and support Canadian innovation within independent neuropathic pain research in the areas of basic biomedical, clinical and health sciences.
Sixteen research proposals were submitted to the competition and six proposals were funded based on ranked scores from the review committee, which is composed of 12 Canadian medical researchers familiar with neuropathic pain research.
Two HBI members were among the six Canadians chosen to receive the Award – Dr. Cory Toth, Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Dr. Patrick Whelan, Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics for the Faculty of Medicine, and the Department of Comparative Biology & Experimental Medicine at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Whelan's grant was also co-authored by Dr. Sravan Mandadi, a Postdoctoral Fellow at HBI with an extensive background in the pain field and experience in both industry and academia.
Dr. Toth’s research explores the potential role of diabetes and neuropathic pain (NeP) as risk factors for falling accidents and injury. This research will contribute to the understanding of comorbidities associated with NeP and may also lead to new methods for fall risk management in populations of patients with diabetes.
Dr. Toth is the Director of the Neuropathic Pain Clinic. He performs clinical research in neuropathic pain and neuropathy, as well as basic science research in diabetic complications of the nervous system and neuropathic pain. Dr. Toth further collaborates with local and international researchers regarding problems in nerve regeneration and motor neuron diseases. He is funded by CIHR, AHFMR, and JDRF for his basic science research.
Dr. Whelan’s research explores the role of kinins in modulating pathological activation of spinal motor circuits by pain afferents during early development. These research results are valuable as pain pathways are functional as early as 24 weeks of gestation, yet despite this pediatric pain remain under diagnosed and often left untreated.
Dr. Whelan has been involved in spinal cord research for nearly 20 years. His main interest is the organization and function of spinal cord networks that produce locomotion. These networks are essential for recovery of function following spinal cord injury. Part of Dr. Whelan’s research interest lies in understanding how motor networks are organized and respond to descending stimuli. Over the past few years Dr. Whelan has begun to examine the role of nociceptive input in the control of locomotion. This is an area which has received little research attention but is of major importance to those suffering from SCI since up to 80% of these individuals report having recurring neuropathic pain.
Neuropathic pain is a disease caused by injury or dysfunction of the nerves, spinal cord or brain. As many as an estimated six million Canadians have shown symptoms of neuropathic pain. However, it is a disease that is often under-diagnosed and under-treated.
The long-term goal of the Neuropathic Pain Research Awards is to provide new approaches for developing prevention tools and therapeutics,” said Dr. A. John Clark, Professor of Anesthesia at Dalhousie University in Halifax and Chair of the Neuropathic Pain Research Awards Committee. “These awards will enable the many talented recipients to continue to work toward the common goals of better understanding and treating neuropathic pain.”
Pfizer Canada is committed to advancing research in the therapeutic area of pain. The Neuropathic Pain Research Awards were created to support independent researchers, recognize outstanding research with the potential to improve knowledge and treatment of neuropathic pain, as well as improve the quality of life of Canadians and people around the world.
Posted April 1, 2010