Up to 8% of the population suffers from neuropathic pain due to lesions in the peripheral or central nervous system. To enable "personalized" medicine, only a strict separation of neuropathic from other chronic pain syndromes allows individualized therapy. At present, diagnosis is based on medical history, subjective description of somatosensory symptoms and application of non-genetic diagnostic tests. Conventional pain medications are not sufficiently effective and limited by serious side effects. The search for new analgesics is extremely difficult because of the poor predictive validity of animal models and the high inter-individual variability of neuropathic pain manifestations and treatment responses. In collaboration with an interdisciplinary group of European pain researchers (NeuroPain consortium) we pursue the following aims:
1- Examination of phenotype-genotype associations predictive for neuropathic pain by extensive phenotyping
2- Investigation of the analgesic effect of a novel phytocannabinoid in a cohort of HIV-associated painful neuropathy
3- Pharmacogenomic studies in patients to evaluate genetic characteristics of responders and non-responders to this novel substance
Group members involved: Christoph Stein, Simone Scheffel, Luca Eibach, Madeleine Cardebring, Marie Lettau, Özgür Celik