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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Iowa: Researchers Part of National Effort to Curb Opioid Use

University of Iowa pain researchers are part of a major national initiative that aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder and overdose, and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction.

Dr. Kathleen Sluka, UI professor of physical therapy and rehabilitation science, has received two grants totaling almost $13 million through The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative, designed to improve prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction and enhance pain management.

Dr. Christopher Coffey, professor of biostatistics at the University of Iowa School of Public Health and director of the Clinical Trials Statistical and Data Management Center (CTSDMC), will collaborate with Sluka and other UI colleagues on a four-year, $6.5 million award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to establish a Clinical Coordinating Center for the Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures (A2CPS) Program.

The consortium’s goals are to identify biomarkers and biosignatures — patterns of biomarkers — that can predict whether a person is susceptible or resilient to the development of chronic pain following acute pain. The hope is that being able to identify people at risk of transitioning to chronic pain could improve the management of acute pain by personalizing treatment, reducing reliance on opioids, and identifying new therapeutic targets.

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