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MUSC receives grant to fight opioid addiction

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The Medical University of South Carolina received a grant for $833,190 to apply scientific solutions to the national opioid crisis.

This grant from Helping to End Addiction Long-term, known as the NIH HEAL Initiative, is one of 375 given across 41 states this fiscal year by the National Institutes of Health. The grant will run for a one-year period, according to a news release issued by MUSC.

The NIH HEAL Initiative aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder and overdose and to achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction, the release said.

“Through this award, MUSC investigators will join a national network of researchers exploring innovative treatments for chronic pain,” said Kathleen Brady, MUSC vice president for research. “Our goal is to make these state-of-the-art pain treatments available to benefit the citizens of South Carolina.”

MUSC will use the award to form multidisciplinary clinical trial teams with close connections to physicians who are also research experts, the release said. The medical university currently provides care to patients with pain through clinicians and scientists in primary care, orthopedics, neurology, anesthesiology, rheumatology, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, addiction sciences, pain psychology, pain rehabilitation and abdominal pain.

MUSC plans to use existing research resources to engage sites across the state in phase 2 clinical trials. According to the release, the plan is to recruit at least 100 qualified participants with specific pain conditions into concurrent phase 2 trials.

Team members from MUSC will also contribute to the Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network, which is part of the NIH HEAL Initiative, by serving on steering committees, proposing trials and providing expertise in clinical trial proposal development, the release said.

NIH Director Francis S. Collins said a multipronged scientific approach is needed to reduce the risk of opioids, accelerate development of effective non-opioid therapies for pain, and provide more flexible and effective options for treating addiction to opioids.

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