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Medical College of Wisconsin researcher to study new treatment for chronic pain

July 27, 2012

The Medical College of Wisconsin received a four-year, $1.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to study the use of genetically modified adult stem cells to treat neuropathic pain.

Quinn H. Hogan, M.D., professor of anesthesiology and director of pain research, is the principal investigator for the grant. He will collaborate with Hongwei Yu, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of anesthesiology.

Neuropathic pain is a common type of chronic pain often following nerve injury, affecting an estimated two to three percent of the population. The pain is often resistant to the effects of simple painkillers, limiting treatment options.

Using a rat model, Dr. Hogan’s study will test a novel treatment for neuropathic pain that involves genetically modifying adult stem cells derived from the animal’s own bone marrow or fat. These stem cells will be designed to produce painkilling chemicals, and will be implanted at very specific sections of damaged nerve tissue.

Dr. Hogan’s work may lead to the development of a safe, effective and flexible treatment for patients with chronic pain in which their own cells are modified to produce analgesic substances.

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