Pfizer Canada Announces Recipients of Neuropathic Pain Research Awards Program

    Awards Competition Dedicated to Neuropathic Pain Research

    KIRKLAND, QC, June 2 /CNW/ - Pfizer Canada is pleased to announce the
recipients of its second Neuropathic Pain Research Awards Competition, which
aims to fund and support independent neuropathic pain research in the areas of
basic biomedical, clinical and health sciences.
    "This awards program recognizes the severity of neuropathic pain as a
disease and the important work of some of Canada's leading researchers who are
committed to understanding and learning more about neuropathic pain," said Dr.
A. John Clark, Medical Director, Calgary Health Region Chronic Pain Centre.
"The work they are doing is of tremendous importance to not only Canadian
patients but people around the world who suffer from this disease."
    Neuropathic pain is a disease caused by injury or dysfunction of the
nerves, spinal cord or brain. It is estimated that over 2.2 million Canadians
suffer from this chronic condition, often in combination with other types of
pain such as fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and migraine headaches.
    Sixteen research proposals were reviewed by an independent committee of
Canadian medical researchers, chaired by Dr. Clark, Medical Director. Seven
proposals were funded based on ranked scores from the independent review
committee. The recipients represent a diverse group of healthcare
professionals and scientists committed to furthering research and
understanding of neuropathic pain.
    Pfizer Canada is strongly committed to advancing research in the pain
therapeutic area. The Pfizer 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
the quality of life of Canadians and people around the world.

    The recipients of the 2008 awards are:

    Dr. Mary E. Lynch
    Department of Anesthesia and Psychiatry
    A Controlled Trial of Qigong for Treatment of Fibromyalgia
    Dalhousie University

    Dr. Lynch will undertake a controlled clinical study to examine the
effects of Qigong for treatment of fibromyalgia. Current treatment guidelines
for this chronic pain condition involve medical management along with
self-care techniques. The goal of this study is to determine if this self-care
practice provides improvements in pain, sleep, and quality of life in those
with fibromyalgia, and to see if such effects are sustained.

    Caroline F. Pukall, PhD
    Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
    Vulvodynia: a neuropathic pain condition?
    Queen's University

    As a result of her unique work, Dr. Pukall has been awarded several young
investigator research awards from international organizations (e.g.,
International Society of the Study of Women's Sexual Health, Society for Sex
Therapy and Research). Currently, Dr. Pukall supervises several graduate and
undergraduate students on projects spanning many aspects of vulvodynia,
including psychosexual function, pain characteristics, genital and non-genital
sensitivity, blood flow, brain imaging, and treatment outcome.

    Michael W. Salter, MD, PhD, FRSC
    Senior Scientist, Hospital for Sick Children
    Professor, Department of Physiology
    Director, University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain
    Neuregulin - ErbB4 signalling: a novel pathway to suppress peripheral
    neuropathic pain
    University of Toronto

    Dr. Salter's recent work focuses on the role of neuregulin (NRG), a
member of the epidermal growth factor family, and its cognate receptor, ErbB4,
in suppressing pain hypersensitivity in the spinal dorsal horn. Tackling the
major problem of neuropathic pain is the impetus for Dr. Salter's studies and
the results obtained will lead to a greater understanding of the neurobiology
of neuropathic pain and provide a rationale on which to base development and
use of novel analgesics for neuropathic pain.

    Barry J. Sessle, PhD
    Professor and Canada Research Chair, Faculty of Dentistry
    Pregabalin effects on craniofacial nociceptive processes
    University of Toronto

    Dr. Sessle has found recent evidence in his research which indicates that
novel anti-convulsant drugs such as gabapentin and pregabalin influence
glutamate release and glutamatergic neurotransmission, and are effective in
treating many neuropathic and inflammatory pain conditions.

    Peter A. Smith, PhD
    Professor of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacology
    Classical and novel treatments for neuropathic pain
    University of Alberta

    Dr. Smith's research has been consistently supported by the Canadian
Institutes for Health Research and he has published over 90 articles in
leading scientific journals. Recent work in Dr. Smith's laboratory has
identified the paramount importance of brain derived neurotrophic factor in
generating the 'central sensitization' of the spinal cord that leads to the
development of chronic neuropathic pain.

    Eric Troncy, DV, MSc, PhD, DUn
    Associate Professor in Physiopharmacology
    Head Quebec Animal Pharmacology Research Group, Faculty of Veterinary
    Functional proteomics as an investigational method of neuropathy
    diagnostic in a rat model of osteoarthritis pain
    Université de Montréal

    Dr. Troncy is the youngest full Professor at the Faculty of Veterinary
Medicine of Université de Montréal, his areas of research in GREPAQ are
metrology of animal pain, in acute and chronic conditions, specifically with
osteoarthritis, and the relationships between structural and functional
evaluation of the condition correlated to genomic/proteomic modifications.

    Mark A. Ware, MD, MBBS, MRCP, MSc
    Assistant Professor
    Director of Clinical Research, McGill University Health Centre
    Pain Clinic
    Departments of Anesthesia and Family Medicine
    Standardizing the clinical sensory examination for neuropathic pain
    McGill University

    Dr Ware's primary research interest is in evaluating the use of
cannabinoids for medical purposes and has received the only two CIHR/Health
Canada grants to study the safety and efficacy of smoked cannabis for chronic
pain. He has published on the clinical epidemiology of cannabis use for
chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and HIV/AIDS, and has presented his work as
invited speaker and at workshops and symposia at major international

    About Pfizer Canada Inc. Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of
Pfizer Inc, the world's leading pharmaceutical company. Pfizer discovers,
develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines for humans and
animals. Pfizer's ongoing research and development activities focus on a wide
range of therapeutic areas following our guiding aspiration...Working for a
healthier world. For more information, visit

For further information:

For further information: Karen Nussbaum, Thornley Fallis Communications,
(416) 515-7517 ext. 234,; Heather Bisset, Pfizer
Canada Inc., (514) 693-4712,

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