UWE Bristol opens pain management research centre in Bath

Issue date: 24 October 2011

Professor Candy McCabe

Launch event Friday 28 October 2011 17:00 at RNHRD

UWE Bristol and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) NHS Foundation Trust are joining forces to open a new Pain Management Research Centre that will be based in Bath at the RNHRD. The Centre will be launched at the RNHRD on Friday 28 October at 17:00.

The Pain Management Research Centre is funded by UWE Bristol and will be used by a team of specialists to assess patients with chronic pain. Donations to furnish this new Research Centre have been generously provided by Dyson, Rotork, The Bath Gallery and T.R. Hayes. The launch event will showcase a range of current projects.

Professor Candy McCabe will head up the new Centre. A leading expert on pain management, who has been based at UWE Bristol for the past year, Professor McCabe combines research work with her clinical practice at RNHRD and is partially funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

The research team will have access to dedicated laboratory and clinical assessment rooms in the heart of Bath city centre. The location presents an excellent opportunity to recruit healthy volunteers and test them in the new facilities in order to compare and contrast between them and chronic pain populations to see how pain alters sensory and motor processing.

Professor McCabe says that having a dedicated space within a busy clinical environment will provide huge practical benefits, “Being close to patients means that we can involve them in our work in a way that enables us to gain a very clear insight into their conditions, but importantly it also means that they can be empowered by becoming involved on project committees in some cases.

“Specialist equipment can be stored safely, researchers can easily access research participants from ward areas or outpatient clinics to undertake research investigations and all this takes place in an appropriately adapted area for people who may have mobility problems.”

There are currently a range of studies taking place looking at the mechanisms of chronic pain in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and other rheumatological conditions, trialling of new treatments to relieve the sensitivity of pain in CRPS and more qualitative designed studies exploring the patients' experience of living with CRPS and the impact that it has on their daily lives.

Professor McCabe continues, “We have Expert Patient Researchers involved with all our studies and we also work closely with our CRPS patient support group who help inform the design and direction of our research. We are very proud of the fact that all of our research arises from clinical puzzlements that the clinical team identify in our routine clinics and our research findings feed directly back into the clinical setting.”

A recent and very exciting project funded by the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association entitled 'A multi-centre international study exploring the patients' definition of recovery from CRPS' will seek to set the standard for outcomes measurement of clinical research trials of treatments for CRPS into the future.

This study will also establish collaborative relationships among clinicians and scientists around the world. Professor McCabe says, “This new study with RSDSA will involve us, for the first time, recruiting expert patient researchers from across seven countries to help with data analysis and the conduct of this international, multi-centre study.”

“CRPS, also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, is a chronic pain condition characterised by severe burning pain, pathological change in bone and skin, excessive sweating, tissue swelling and extreme sensitivity to touch.”

Professor McCabe recently gave a presentation at a symposium in Albuquerque to outline the project to some of the international collaborators that include experts from Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark.

The new centre will be launched on Friday 28 October 2011 by Professor Helen Langton, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at UWE Bristol and Kirsty Matthews, Chief Executive of RNHRD NHS FT.


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