Participant 5: UNIVERSITA’ DEGLI STUDI DI PARMA (UNIPR), Parma, Italy / Dr. Massimo Allegri 

Organization: University of Parma is one of the leading research University in Italy. The Anesthesia and Pain Therapy Department, directed by Dr Prof Fanelli, is one of the three Pain Centers recognized as referral centers (hub) in Regione Emilia-Romagna. The research is mainly dedicated to the evaluation of clinical predictors of efficacy and safety of treatment of chronic pain with opioids. Relevant Competencies and Experience: Pain Therapy Department has a recognized background in clinical studies about acute and chronic pain. It is involved in several multicentric trials about intensive care, anesthesia and pain therapy. The chief of the Department is Prof Fanelli, president of the Italian Health Ministry Commission about Pain. He is the responsible first of the draft and successively of the approval of Italian law 38/2010 about the right of patients to have access to pain therapy services (the law was recently mentioned for its importance also by United Nations). Prof Fanelli is member of several national and International societies of anesthesia and pain management and he is the President of SIMPAR and IMPACT meetings. Furthermore, as president of Italian Health Ministry commission about pain, he is involved in studies about ethical and clinical concerns about opioids and chronic pain.

Coordinator: Dr. Allegri is currently the PI of a project funded by Italian Health Ministry about nanotechnology and pain, in collaboration with Methodist Research Institute (USA). He is the responsible of research activity of the Italian Pain Society (Federdolore-SICD); he coordinates pain research of the Universities of Pavia and of Parma. He is the founder and the responsible of the research international group about Pain (SIMPAR) and scientific director of SIMPAR meeting (www.simpar.eu).

Facilities: UNIPR has all the facilities for clinical research about acute and chronic pain. The Department accounts for about 1000 patients with acute and/or chronic LBP examined each year: it has consultation rooms, an operating room with fluoroscopy devices. The Department performs about 25 diagnostic/therapeutic blocks each week. UNIPR has collaboration (clinical and research) with ISAL Foundation, in Rimini; this collaboration makes possible to perform, in highly selected patients with chronic low back pain and a suspected inflammatory spinal stenosis as pain generator, the procedure of epiduroscopy.

Team: Dr. M Allegri, Prof G Fanelli, Dr C Compagnone Dr W Raffaeli. The team strictly cooperates with general practitioners, orthopaedic surgeons, rehabilitation physicians, neurosurgeons for a comprehensive care of pain patients in and outside the hospital setting. The collaboration with Dr Raffaeli (ISAL Foundation) has led the Parma University to deepen its research activity on epiduroscopy. Dr Raffaeli has been investigating the efficacy of this technique since more than 10 years and he is one of the international opinion leader of this topic. Dr Raffaeli will not be a beneficiary of the grant but he will participate as collaborator (not paid) of UNIPR as he is already doing.

Main Tasks: Enrolment, clinical evaluation and stratification of patients with LBP, genetic and epigenetic analyses Principal Investigator of the prospective trial about epiduroscopy in patients with chronic LBP scheduled for this intervention, involving also genetic and inflammatory evaluations. Evaluation of ethical issues about genetics of patients with chronic pain. Our genetic laboratory is equipped with all needed instruments and facilities.
Leader: WP1, WP2, and WP9; Participant: WP3, and WP7.