Markman Named Co-chair of New ACTION Pain Relief Initiative

March 25, 2011

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The US Food and Drug Administration has awarded the University of Rochester Medical Center a $1 million contract to develop a partnership of public and private organizations to help bring more relief to the 76 million Americans with acute and chronic pain by speeding the identification of effective pain treatments.

Academy member John D. Markman, MD, FAAN, of the University of Rochester Medical Center, will represent the AAN as a co-chair of the Executive Committee of the partnership known as Analgesic Clinical Trial Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks (ACTION). The Executive Committee is responsible for oversight and guidance of the ACTION public-private partnership and meeting its objectives. Markman is chair-elect of the AAN Section on Pain and chairs the Mitchell B. Max Award for Neuropathic Pain Subcommittee.

According to the University of Rochester, ACTION will analyze a wide range of clinical trials of treatments for acute and chronic pain, looking specifically at the approach and procedures used in each trial. Researchers hope to identify problems or gaps in trial design and implementation, and find ways to bridge these gaps to speed the development of new safe and effective medications.

"There are many shared, unanswered questions within the field of analgesic drug use and development that individual stakeholders do not have the capacity to answer," said Markman. "There are few opportunities to examine the data submitted to the FDA within and across different classes of available treatments and learn more about the relative trade-offs between drug benefits and toxicities. ACTION creates the structure for academic investigators, industry sponsors, and government regulators to tackle these questions. There's a treasure trove of information in these databases and this collaboration, made possible by the support the FDA, will accelerate the development of new pain treatments."

"All major pain stakeholder organizations worldwide are involved in this endeavor. The AAN and its members have been at the forefront of promoting the optimal use of drugs through its guidelines process. The AAN will have representation on the governing committee that maps the agenda and participates in the research. The Academy understands that treating pain is a priority of both practicing neurologists and their patients. So its central role in the establishment of this consortium marks another major contribution to the field of pain medicine."