Pfizer Canada Announces Neuropathic Pain Research Award Recipients

Fifth Annual Awards Competition Dedicated to Independent Pain Research

KIRKLAND, QC, June 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Pfizer Canada is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2011 Neuropathic Pain Research Awards, an annual grant competition for independent research in the areas of basic biomedical, clinical and health service and systems sciences.1

"For the past five years, the Neuropathic Pain Research Awards have supported Canadian medical innovation and research in neuropathic pain," says Lorella Garofalo, Director, Medical Affairs, Pfizer Canada.

The awards provide funding grants to outstanding research that has the potential to improve the quality of life of people living with neuropathic pain (NeP), a common pain condition estimated to affect over one million Canadians.2 It is both incredibly painful and difficult to diagnose as there are a number of conditions that must first be ruled out.3

"Patients with neuropathic pain will have symptoms like burning, tingling or shocks,4 but beyond physical pain, this condition affects a person's emotional, social and financial well being," says Garofalo. "By some estimates, Canadians with NeP lose $2,567 every three months as a result of lost productivity and other consequences of their pain."5

Fifteen research proposals for the Neuropathic Pain Research Awards were reviewed by an independent committee of Canadian medical researchers chaired by Dr. A. John Clark, Professor of Anaesthesia at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

This year's award recipients will investigate a variety of innovative research areas including treatments for chronic migraines6 to new diagnostic and prognostic methods for pain patients living with chronic pain7 to an investigation into whether chronic pain can be prevented or reversed with medications that alter epigenetic modifications.8

"There continues to be substantial gaps in our knowledge of the biology, mechanisms and treatments of neuropathic pain," says Dr. Clark. "But with each passing year, we get closer to fully understanding NeP and possible ways to improve care. This is in part due to the innovative contributions made by recipients of the Neuropathic Pain Research Awards."

Past winners of the Neuropathic Pain Research Awards have pointed to increased understanding of a number of basic concepts about neuropathic pain, as well as improved treatment approaches through enhanced knowledge of neuropathic pain pathways. They have also served to increase the reliability of neuropathic pain screening tools used in clinical practice.

"We have awarded more than $3.5 million dollars to independent researchers during the five years of the program," says Garofalo. "We are pleased to see the impact of this research already and look forward to the day when our understanding of NeP allows people to live well while living with pain."

Recipients of the 2011 Neuropathic Pain Research Awards

Ze'ev Seltzer, BMS, DMD, University of Toronto
Subject: Identification of candidate pain genes for chronic neuropathic pain
Through genotyping of his unique cohorts comprising thousands of limb amputees and women post-mastectomy, half of whom developed neuropathic pain and half never had this pain, Dr. Seltzer's research seeks to uncover genes associated with specific types of chronic pain after injury or surgery, in order to support the development of the most effective treatments for chronic pain. He also hopes to personalize pain medicine by identifying new diagnostic and prognostic tools to better indicate who is at risk for the development of such pain after surgery and what types of analgesics are best suited to the genetic landscape of a specific patient, at the cost of minimal side effects.9

Terrance Snutch, PhD, FRSC, University of British Columbia
Subject: Effect of pregabalin on cortical spreading depression and synaptic efficacy in a model of chronic migraine
Dr. Snutch's research investigates the effectiveness of pregabalin as an effective prophylactic treatment for chronic migraine sufferers. His research is significant for the two to five per cent of the Western world who suffer from chronic migraines, where chronic is defined as more than 15 migraines per month.1

Laura Stone, PhD, McGill University
Subject: Epigenetic modulation of chronic neuropathic pain
Dr. Stone's research investigates whether gene expression, affected by chemical modifications in the brain—known as epigenetics—are linked to the development of chronic pain and whether chronic pain can be either prevented or reversed with medications targeting these changes. The results of this study could lead to the identification of new therapeutic strategies for neuropathic pain.11

About Pfizer Canada
Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, one of the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies. The company is one of the largest contributors to health research in Canada. Our diversified health care portfolio includes biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines for humans and animals, and many of the world's best-known consumer products.

Every day, Pfizer Canada employees work to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. We apply science and our global resources to improve the health and well-being of Canadians at every stage of life. Our commitment is reflected in everything Pfizer does, from our disease awareness initiatives to our community partnerships, to our belief that it takes more than medication to be truly healthy.

To learn more about Pfizer's More than Medication philosophy and programs, visit www.morethanmedication.ca. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit www.pfizer.ca.

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1 Neuropathic Pain Research Awards. (2011). Pfizer Canada. Retrieved on April 10, 2012 from https://pfizercns.ca/en/.
2 Moulin et al. (2007). Pharmacological management of chronic pain - Consensus statement and guidelines from the Canadian Pain Society. Pain Research and Management. Spring 12(1), 13-21.
3 Backonja, M., & Krause, S. J. (2003). Short report: Neuropathic pain questionnaire—short form. The Clinical Journal of Pain. Vol. 19, 315-316.
4 Dworkin, R. H. (2002). An overview of neuropathic pain: Syndromes, symptoms, signs and several mechanisms. Clinical Journal of Pain. Vol. 18(6), 343-349.
5 Tarride, J. E., Collet, J. P., Choinière, M., Rousseau, C. & Gordon, A. (2006). The economic burden of neuropathic pain in Canada. Journal of Medical Economics, Vol 9(14), 55-68.
6 Snutch, T. (2012). Effect of Pregabalin on cortical spreading depression and synaptic efficacy in a model of chronic migraine. Abstract submitted to Pfizer Canada Neuropathic Pain Research Award.
7 Seltzer, Z. (2012). Identification of Candidate Pain Genes for Chronic Neuropathic Pain. Abstract submitted to Pfizer Canada Neuropathic Pain Research Award.
8 Stone, L. (2012). Epigenetic Modulation of Chronic Neuropathic Pain. Abstract submitted to Pfizer Canada Neuropathic Pain Research Award.
9 Seltzer, Z. (2012). Identification of Candidate Pain Genes for Chronic Neuropathic Pain. Abstract submitted to Pfizer Canada Neuropathic Pain Research Award.
10 Snutch, T. (2012). Effect of Pregabalin on cortical spreading depression and synaptic efficacy in a model of chronic migraine. Abstract submitted to Pfizer Canada Neuropathic Pain Research Award.
11 Stone, L. (2012). Epigenetic Modulation of Chronic Neuropathic Pain. Abstract submitted to Pfizer Canada Neuropathic Pain Research Award.

SOURCE PFIZER CANADA INC.

For further information:

Christina Antoniou
Pfizer Canada
Christina.Antoniou@pfizer.com
1-866-9Pfizer (or 866-973-4937)

Jennifer Fox
Thornley Fallis Communications
fox@thornleyfallis.ca
(416) 515 -7517 ext. 350

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