Research

Preclinical Research

Facilities - Two Site Locations

Clinical Teaching Facility

  • Secured, alarmed facility about 4100 square feet
  • Located on the single floor at the Clinical Teaching Facility at the UCSD Medical Center

Medical Teaching Facility

  • 1800 square feet space in the Medical Teaching Facility on the La Jolla campus

Each of the preclinical investigators has independent laboratory space, but the group is organized into a series of research cores to optimize interaction and cost sharing.  All shared facilities operate on a recharge basis so that the direct expense is born by each user.

Preclinical Research Goals

The following outlines the essential targets encompassing the preclinical mission statement of the pain program.

1. Mechanisms of nociception that arise from disease and from therapy
  • Effect on nerve function, effects of radiation, and chemotherapeutic agents that lead to nerve damage (central and peripheral) that yields neuropathic pain states.
             - Assessment of allodynia, hyperalgesia
  • Treatment effect / tumor upon nerve / DRG / spinal cord

             - Local tumor/intrathecal tumor
             - Radiation             
             - Chemotherapeutic agent: Systemic/intrathecal

  • Rlease of central and peripheral transmitters
  • Sprouting of central and peripheral terminals
  • Change in sympathetic innervation of DRG and radiated site (skin/muscle dura).

             - Time course

          - Effect of suppressed/ altered immunogenicity
  • Effect of tumor/type on nerve function (spontaneous activity)
  • Changes in central indices

            - Regulation of central receptors (NK1 up/down regulation) / IEG expression

2. Implementation of mechanistic insights into the evolution of animal models of nociceptive processing (hyperalgesia, allodynia, spontaneous pain states) after tumor, radiation, chemotherapy and/or various combinations.

  • Definition of hyperalgesia allodynia-hyperalgesia / pain thresholds
  • Parallel time course with changes in nerve morphology and central changes

3. Implementation of animal models to develop mechanistic screening approaches that will target directions of pain therapy

  • Spinal pharmacology of induced hyperalgesic and neuropathic states
  • Anti-cytokines, growth factors

4. Use of preclinical models in defining evolution of tolerance/dependence

  • Effects of radiation and chemotherapy on analgesic tolerance