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Research Lab – Department of Clinical Sciences 

Comparative Pain Research

Contact us:    919.513.6854   |     cvm_cprl@ncsu.edu or    919.513.6680

The comparative pain research team’s mission is to improve pain management in animals and humans.

We achieve this through

  • Developing methods to measure the impact of pain in animals
  • Unraveling the neurobiological signature of pain in naturally occurring chronic disease in animals
  • Testing novel therapeutics for pain relief in naturally occurring disease in animals

Sheepdog Working Sheep

News

Dr. B. Duncan X. Lascelles and research technician, Ms. Andrea Thomson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A note from Dr. Lascelles: “Sincere thanks to all I’ve worked with to understand and control pain in cats!! Let’s keep going!”  Read full article.

Ongoing Research

  • Discovery of novel pain relieving approaches
    We also carefully collect and analyze blood and synovial fluid from pet dogs with painful conditions to investigate what is actually causing the pain on a molecular level. Tissue samples are collected from dogs to investigate neuronal changes that occur with chronic pain to discover unknown mechanisms and new pharmacological targets. The similarities between dogs and humans make these samples particularly useful for developing novel, effective, and safe therapeutics both in veterinary and human medicine.
Pipette dropper

Tissue samples are collected from dogs to investigate neuronal changes that occur with chronic pain to discover unknown mechanisms and new pharmacological targets.

  • Chronic musculoskeletal pain in cats
    It is estimated that approximately 45% of all cats (and over 90% of cats over 10 years of age) show signs associated with musculoskeletal (e.g. joint) pain, making it the most common condition in cats. Our team develops ways to measure the disease and pain so that we can test potential therapeutics, and unravels the causes of musculoskeletal pain in cats. We use many approaches to measuring the impact of pain in cats, including activity monitors worn on the collar in the home environment.
NC State Veterinary MedicineNC State Veterinary Medicine Cat

‘Paradox’ has just been fitted with a small activity monitor that will tell us about activity over the next several weeks.


Thank you to our friends at VetPetz for helping us develop this educational video.

  • Chronic pain in dogs: a model of human chronic pain
    Naturally occurring osteoarthritis and osteosarcoma in pet dogs is very similar to the same conditions in humans. We study osteoarthritis and osteosarcoma in pet dogs as models of the human conditions, allowing us to both learn more about how to manage these painful conditions in dogs, and contribute to the development of non-opioid pain therapeutics in humans. We use a wide variety of validated subjective and objective outcome measures to assess putative analgesic drugs that may be developed for use.Watch this video where experts in the veterinary and human pain fields talk about how pets can contribute to human pain research and benefit themselves.

    We also carefully collect and analyze blood and tissue from pet dogs with painful conditions to understand what is actually causing the pain, and to develop novel, effective and safe therapeutics.

 

  • Evaluation of activity in dogs with osteoarthritis ‘Wearable technology’ is a rapidly developing field, and may allow us to detect developing conditions, including pain, earlier. Such technology also has the potential to allow us to measure the impact of pain on overall activity, an animal’s ability to perform certain activities, and sleep quality, and of course to measure the benefit of therapeutics. We are actively working in this area to assess the utility of wearable technology in cats and dogs, and to develop ways to appropriately manage and interpret the data generated.

 

Dog with leash

Ready to be active?

 

  • Impact of early life pain on later chronic pain
    Many human babies are born prematurely, and are subject to multiple painful procedures early in life. Similarly, many young animals undergo painful procedures early in life. These early life painful experiences may make later painful conditions more painful due to ‘priming’ of the nervous system, probably through cells called Glia. We are working to understand the impact of early life painful experience on chronic pain later in life, and on understanding what may cause this.
Cute orange tabby kitten with paw up, looking

Enrolling!

Current clinical studies we are enrolling patients for:  Learn more

Clinical Metrology Instruments

One goal of the Comparative Pain Research Program is to produce valid clinical metrology instruments (questionnaires) for the assessment of pain, physical function and quality of life.  These tools are targeted at measuring one or more of the impacts of pain:

  • Pain (adverse sensory and emotional experience)
  • Mobility (the quality of moving freely)
  • Activity (the ability to perform specific activities)
  • Affective Effects (mood, feelings)
  • Sleep quality
  • Cognitive Ability (ability to think and process information)

Resources 

Peer-reviewed Research Publications

View Our Publications

The important work that has been performed in this program has been made possible by generous donations and research grants awarded. These donations and grants allow us to continue our work improve veterinarians’ ability to alleviate pain in animals, and to use this knowledge in human translational research to assist in the alleviation of pain in humans.

You can support the work of the Comparative Pain Research Program with a tax-deductible donation (please indicate the name of the lab in your gift).

Support Our Research 

We Are Grateful to Our Current Sponsors

We are very grateful to our current supporters and sponsors for helping us improve the alleviation of pain in dogs and cats:

  • Boehringher Ingelheim
  • Centrexion
  • Elanco
  • Jane T. Gaede
  • Mary Jo Pringle
  • Mike and Leigh Ann Gallucci
  • Morris Animal Foundation
  • National Institutes of Health (Small Business Technology Transfer)
  • Nexvet
  • Pharmalink International Limited
  • Tina Angelichio
  • Winn Feline Foundation

Principal Investigators

Comparative Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program

Derek Adrian, DVM

Clinical Sciences

Morika Williams

Clinical Sciences

Staff and Associates

Jon Hash

Clinical Sciences

jahash@ncsu.edu

Research Assistants

Beatriz Belda

Clinical Sciences

bbeldal@ncsu.edu

Sam Chiu

Clinical Sciences

kchiu@ncsu.edu