Duncan Lascelles, professor of small animal surgery and a research and clinical pain-management expert at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, is the principal investigator of a “One Health in a Minute” video and journal manuscript project concerning chronic pain in companion animals and humans.
The innovative project is one of three funded by the Clinical and Translational Science Awards One Health Alliance (COHA) to promote awareness of One Health, the concept that animal, human, and environmental health are interrelated. The alliance involves veterinary colleges partnering with medical schools and research institutions through a National Institutes of Health Clinical Transitional Science Award.
“COHA’s mission is to advance the awareness and understanding of diseases shared by humans and animals,” says Dr. Lascelles. “The alliance will leverage the expertise of physicians, research scientists, veterinarians, and other professionals to solve medical problems and address the well-being of humans, animals, and the environment.”
Investigators joining Lascelles in the “Chronic Pain in Companion Animals and Humans” project are William Maixner, director of the Center for Translational Pain Medicine at Duke University; Jeffery Mogil, professor of pain studies at McGill University in Canada; and Dottie Brown, professor of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
The team will develop and present information in a journal manuscript form and in a brief video that explains how collaboration among veterinarians, medical doctors, and biomedical researchers, with a focus on naturally occurring painful diseases in companion animals, can advance the diagnoses and treatment of chronic pain in both companion animals and people.
Lascelles points to an Institute of Medicine report that disclosed the cost of diagnosing and treating persistent human pain in the U. S. in 2011 was estimated at $600 billion, more than cardiovascular disease ($300 billion) or cancer ($250 million) combined.
“There has been an inability to effectively translate basic research into approved pain therapies for people,” says Lascelles. “But spontaneous, naturally occurring painful diseases in companion animals—canine osteoarthritis, for example—can offer researchers a study ‘model’ that closely matches the complex genetic, environmental, temporal, and physiological issues involved in our own pain. There is enormous potential for synergy between veterinary clinical, human clinical, and basic pain research.”
The project will focus on specific painful conditions affecting pets and people including osteoarthritis, diabetes, bone cancer, and interstitial cystitis with the goal to demonstrate how transdisciplinary collaboration can lead to improved pain control in humans.