Chronic pain is a major unmet global public health challenge.
It affects around 1 in 5 people, and causes more disability than any other condition, anywhere in the world. Causes of chronic pain include arthritis, other musculoskeletal disorders, cancer, fibromyalgia and migraines, but there are numerous other triggers, and often an underlying diagnosis cannot be found. Chronic pain has a detrimental impact on an individual’s overall health, quality of life, ability to function and work, family life and even wider society. Chronic pain often occurs alongside other debilitating health conditions, such as depression, diabetes, and/or heart disease, increasing the negative impact on those affected. Research into causes and management is a priority for people living with pain, as well as their families, carers, and the communities they live in.
To help address this challenge and improve the lives of people affected by pain conditions, a better understanding of the mechanisms of pain and improved treatments are needed. Many research cohorts exist across the UK containing relevant pain-related data, but previously there has been no national approach to co-ordinating and managing these data. This has resulted in limited ability to link data between the various research cohorts and national efforts collecting data at the point of care.
Alleviate is the APDP Pain Research Data Hub. Alleviate is transforming UK pain datasets to be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) and is providing expert data engineering, to enhance responsible, timely and trustworthy analysis by researchers and innovators, with the aim to improve lives.
Alleviate forms part of an exciting larger £24M initiative to try and address the problem of chronic pain: The Advanced Pain Discovery Platform (APDP). The APDP is co-funded by MRC, Versus Arthritis and Eli Lily, and involves people living with chronic pain from the outset. The initial two phases of the Platform consist of Alleviate (the data hub) and four consortia, to be supplemented by several linked research grants. This innovative approach aims to break through the complexity of pain by delivering a consortium-based platform of national scale, generating discovery and early translational science.