Our aims

Chronic pain is a vast socio-economic problem that touches every fifth individual in Europe. Amongst the group of 70-year-old and older, the number is even higher: one third of Europeans suffer from daily, moderate to severe pain that requires treatment. From the society´s point of view, significant amounts of working hours are lost due to chronic pain, and the quality of life of an individual suffering from pain is decreased.

Analgesics today

The currently available analgesics fail to offer significant relief to the majority of chronic pain patients. The analgesics are rarely effective enough; and they cause severe adverse effects that often lead to discontinuation of the treatment. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory painkillers are a major cause of drug related diseases and deaths. Furthermore, opioids can cause tolerance and addiction when used for long-term management of chronic pain. To develop safer and more efficacious analgesics, efficiency of the existing analgesics may be enhanced by improving their safety profiles, and novel drugs may be developed to to target the specific mechanisms behind chronic pain conditions, such as neuropathic pain, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.

Focus in GLORIA

In GLORIA, we focus on the role of glial activation and neuroinflammation in chronic pain conditions. Combining basic and clinical research approaches, we contribute to the development of safer and more efficient drugs to treat chronic pain. Furthermore, we will provide tools that can be used for tailoring personalized treatments for patients suffering from chronic pain.

Our research

We study glial activation induced by tissue and nerve injury, inflammation, and opioids in large cohorts of chronic pain patients. Biomarker profiles for clinical conditions are developed by assessing inflammatory markers in cerebrospinal fluid, and glial activation in the brain with PET; by performing well-validated experimental pain tests; and using genetics approaches. Inter-individual differences in pain perception are studied using experimental pain tests and fMRI. Well-validated pre-clinical models relevant for arthritis, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain will be used to study glial activation and to investigate the pathophysiology of these conditions.

To identify new druggable targets for analgesics and to create lead molecules for drug development, we focus on the design and synthesis of compounds that block TLR4-mediated activation of glia and also on small compounds that mimic the actions of the GDNF-family.

For more information regarding our work, please contact us via the contact form.

GLORIA Work Packages (WP)

WP1 Mapping of pheno- and genotypes in chronic pain Jörn Lötsch
WP2 Mapping of phenotypes in chronic pain using advanced proteomics Jon Lampa
WP3 In vivo studies of glial cell activation and pain regulation by imaging Eva Kosek
WP4 Glial activation in preclinical models of chronic pain Camilla Svensson
WP5 Role of opioid receptors on glial cells in chronic pain: conditional knockouts Claire Ruff-Gaveriaux
WP6 Novel compounds for managing chronic pain Mati Karelson
WP7 Training, dissemination and technology transfer Leena Karhinen
WP8 Management of the project Eija Kalso