Doggone Foundation Donates Half a Million Dollars to Tackle Chronic Pain

Doggone Foundation Donates Half a Million Dollars to Tackle Chronic Pain

The IRCM Foundation is pleased to announce a $500,000 donation from the Doggone Foundation, which will be used to advance cutting-edge research at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM). More specifically, this generous donation  will allow the creation of the Doggone Foundation Chair of Excellence in Pain, in support of Dr. Artur Kania’s highly promising work in this still little-known area of human health.

Dr. Kania, who is the Director of the Director of the Neural Circuit Development Research Unit at IRCM, and a member of the Quebec Pain Research Network as well as  Alan Edward Center for Research on Pain, is one of the first researchers in the world to have published work on the molecular mechanisms responsible for establishing neuronal connections between the spinal cord and the brain (the organs that transmit pain), paving the way for new solutions in the field of pain, where advances remain rare.

Thanks to the Doggone Foundation Chair of Excellence in Pain, Dr. Artur Kania will be able to continue his cutting-edge work on pain, focusing on interrupting specific neuronal connections as an effective way to reduce pain sensation. By selectively acting on these connections, the team hopes to stop the transmission of pain.

This important support comes right on time to enable us to move to the next step. We will work to define the molecular composition of the neurons that transmit pain signals. Their characterization will enable us to identify the receptors that are expressed, so as to identify drugs capable of specifically targeting them, blocking their activity and altering the function of the link between the spinal cord and the brain. More specifically, this funding will enable us to begin investigating the neuronal addresses linked to chronic pain,” explains Dr. Kania, who is also an Associate Professor at the Université de Montréal and Assistant Professor at McGill University.

An essential protective mechanism in everyday tasks, pain becomes a crucial social issue, when it is chronic or debilitating. Affecting people of all ages and backgrounds, it alters the quality of life, both physical and mental, of over 7 million Canadians, and costs the economy billions of dollars in lost productivity. In children, it is particularly poorly understood.

However, despite its almost ubiquitous presence in human pathologies, pain has been the subject of little interest from the pharmaceutical industry for several years now. Nevertheless, as demonstrated by the opioid crisis, the need for powerful, effective and harmless analgesics to relieve chronic pain remains a public health priority.

At the Doggone Foundation, we are committed to supporting health research and primary care. In health care, chronic pain impairs quality of life and affects mental health, sometimes to the point of depression, which is counterproductive to health recovery," says Paul Marchand, President of the Doggone Foundation. “For us, supporting the cutting-edge research being carried out at the IRCM in this area is a promising approach.”

The knowledge developed in Dr. Kania's laboratory could lead to a variety of new research avenues, and eventually, to novel therapies. On the one hand, these advances open the way to new, effective, non-invasive treatments for chronic pain, and could lead to temporary pain relief solutions during surgery. On the other hand, they pave the way to a new understanding of the development of pain sensation in the embryo, and in certain hypersensitive populations, especially children on the autism spectrum.

"The IRCM Foundation is proud to support the Institute's researchers, who are all daily committed to the health research that will shape tomorrow's medicine. The commitment and generous support of our philanthropic partners enable our scientific teams to focus their efforts on the advancement of medical research. On behalf of the members of the Foundation, the IRCM community and the patients waiting for hopeful solutions, we extend our heartfelt thanks to the Doggone Foundation for its vision in supporting this project," concludes André Couillard, President of the IRCM Foundation.

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