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IASP Pain Research Forum Seminar – Using Human Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) Neurons in Pain Research

Editor’s Note: This seminar is the latest event in a series of seminars launched in May 2020 to help keep the pain research community connected during the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide all members of that community with virtual educational opportunities. The seminar series is supported by the Center for Advanced Pain Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, US.

The IASP Pain Research Forum hosted a seminar with Jane Hartung, PhD, and Jamie Moy, PhD, on Monday, January 25, 2021, from 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM Eastern Standard Time (US)/ 5 - 6:15 PM GMT/ 6 - 7:15 PM CET. A Q&A session moderated by William Renthal, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, US, followed the presentation.

Here is an abstract from the presenters
Despite the growing number of biological targets for the treatment of pain implicated in pre-clinical studies, few of these targets have translated into effective strategies to relieve pain. Amongst the myriad potential reasons for this alarmingly high failure rate is that preclinical animal models used to discover pain targets and validate novel therapies are not sufficiently similar to people. For this reason, a number of labs are incorporating the use of human tissue from organ donors to validate therapeutic targets. In this webinar, members of Dr. Michael Gold’s lab (University of Pittsburgh) will discuss how using human dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons is critical for the successful development of pain therapeutics. Dr. Jamie Moy will present first by giving a brief overview of similarities and differences found between rodent and human DRG neurons. Next, she will discuss ways/approaches to maximizing the use of human tissue, including neurons, to generate model systems on which to perform hypothesis -generating and -testing research directed at pain treatments. Dr. Jane Hartung will continue the conversation by presenting her work characterizing voltage-gated calcium channels in human DRG neurons and their regulation by a variety of factors including age, Gi-protein inhibition, and temperature. Moy and Hartung’s findings highlight important similarities and differences between species that speak to potential therapeutic failures if not new avenues for success. With consent from the next of kin, tissue from organ donors in research provide a valuable resource to ensure a successful translation of therapies for pain patients.