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Opioid Epidemic Research

Opioid Epidemic Research Funding Program, 2018 Awardees

The Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences and the Institute for Public Health have awarded four grants for the Opioid Epidemic Research Funding Program this year.

The Opioid Epidemic Research Funding Program is a new pilot funding program focused on strategies to address the opioid epidemic.  Accepted projects included both early and late stage translational research. Funding for the 2018 projects were awarded to:

Digital Therapy to Support Recovery Among Pregnant Women with Opioid Use Disorder

Team: Patricia Cavazos-Rehg, PhD; Donald Bohnenkamp, MD; and Alex Ramsey, PhD
Washington University in St. Louis

The U.S. is experiencing an unprecedented opioid epidemic that urgently needs to be addressed, specifically among vulnerable populations like pregnant women. The  study is working with pregnant women with opioid use disorder and test a newly developed digital therapy that delivers engaging, credible, and relevant information about medication assisted treatment. Funding: Institute for Public Health and Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences

Precipitants of Opioid Initiation and Strategies to Reduce Use Among Carpenters

Team: Ann Marie Dale, PhD and Brian Gage, MD
Washington University in St. Louis

This project is engaging construction workers, a group at high risk for opioid use disorder. It is exploring the relationships between opioid use and potentially preventable musculoskeletal disorders related to work activities. The project team is testing the effectiveness of a simple intervention to decrease opioid use by restricting the amount of opioids prescribed, and by providing an educational letter to patients with a new prescription. Funding: Institute for Public Health

Dissection of Pain-Induced Modulation of Prescription Opioid Use Pilot Study

Team:  Sarah Eisenstein, PhD; Laura Cavallone, MD; Kevin Black, MD; and Yi Su, PhD
Washington University in St. Louis

Fifteen to 26% of patients misuse prescription opioids. Persistent pain, via kappa opioid receptors (KOPRs) in the brain, may contribute to opioid misuse. The study is collecting pilot and feasibility data for a larger study that will determine whether persistent pain is related to post-surgical opioid misuse and KOPRs using PET imaging with the radioligand. The larger study will help identify treatment strategies for opioid misuse. Funding: Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences

Novel Non-narcotic Based Therapeutics for Chronic Pain

Team: Daniela Salvemini, PhD; Tim Doyle, PhD; and Zhoumou Chen, MD
Saint Louis University

This project is testing the hypothesis that traumatic nerve injuries dysregulate sphingolipid metabolism in the central nervous system and trigger the activation of the sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor subtype 1 (S1PR1) axis which contribute to neuropathic pain via neuroinflammation. Results are anticipated to identify S1PR1 as a target for therapeutic intervention with selective S1PR1 antagonists providing a novel approach to neuropathic pain management. Funding: Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences