PRECISION TEXAS

 

rg1

Developing new ways to treat back pain

Robert Gatchel, director of UT Arlington’s Center of Excellence for the Study of Health and Chronic Illnesses and a Distinguished Professor of Psychology, is a collaborator in a project called Precision Texas designed to treat lower back pain.

The long-term goals are to focus on developing a large biobank of patient genomic profiles, as well as data on diet, lifestyle, and occupational variables. One important outcome will be to advance pharmacogenetics in order to evaluate the “right drug for the right patient at the right dose,” Dr. Gatchel says.

In President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, he introduced the importance of investing federal monies into what is called “Precision Medicine.” The long term goals of Precision Medicine are to focus on prevention and better treatments of patients by developing a large biobank of patient genomic profiles, as well as data on diet, lifestyle, and occupational variables. One important outcome will be to advance pharmacogenetics in order to evaluate the “right drug for the right patient at the right dose.” At the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) at Fort Worth, a PRECISION TEXAS Project has been initiated by Dr. John Licciardone, who is a Professor and Richard-Cohen Distinguished Chair in Clinical Research at the Health Science Center. Dr. Gatchel has worked with Dr. Licciardone for the past 10 years, and will be a Collaborator in this PRECISION TEXAS project. It will help to position them to share in the new federal funds for the Precision Medicine initiative. The initial focus of their efforts will be to develop a pain registry for low back pain. Indeed, the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 estimated that 632 million people world-wide have low back pain, and it is the number one cause of disability. The updated GBD 2013 also indicates that low back pain is among the top 10 causes of years-lived-with-disability in every country. One of the first components of this new PRECISION TEXAS project is to develop laboratories with established track records of biobanking and testing of genetic specimens, as well as computing and bioinformatics capabilities to analyze complex genomics data. Phase 1 will involve collection of biological samples from patients with low back pain. Phase 2 will extend to patients with other pain syndromes. Ultimately, this will lead to studies to evaluate factors associated with optimal treatment of chronic low back pain, which will involve conventional medical practices, biopsychosocial variables, as well as genomic factors that will include response to pharmacotherapy. This PRECISION TEXAS initiative is being supported through a grant from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation. It should also be noted that the UNTHSC has been in the news recently because, in collaboration with TCU, it is developing a new Medical School in Fort Worth.

Further Reading

China embraces precision therapy