2015 Research Foundation Grant Recipient: Dr. Linda Watkins

Conquering SCI Pain & Improving Opioid Efficacy

Linda Watkins, PhD
The Regents of the University of Colorado at Boulder
$150,000 (2 Years)

This work will study a new therapeutic in rats that is expected to be ready for testing in human clinical trials in 2015.  This therapeutic is unlike any other drug now available for spinal cord injury (SCI) chronic pain.

Unlike all other drugs, it treats pain amplification by cells called glia. When glia becomes activated, they amplify pain caused by spinal trauma.

There are two goals. First, we will test if this new glia therapeutic can treat SCI pain. Second, as we found that morphine given early after trauma actually makes chronic pain worse and longer lasting, we will test if this glia-targeting therapeutic can improve opioid pain control as well as prevent or reverse the long-term negative effects of early opioid treatment.