The Interagency Pain Research Portfolio (IPRP), a database that provides information about pain research and training activities supported by the federal government, has been launched by six federal agencies. Pain is a symptom of many disorders; chronic pain can present as a disease in of itself. The economic cost of pain is estimated to be hundreds of billions of dollars annually in lost wages and productivity.
Users of the database easily can search over 1,200 research projects in a multi-tiered system. In Tier 1, grants are organized as basic, translational (research that can be applied to diseases), or clinical research projects. In Tier 2, grants are sorted among 29 scientific topic areas related to pain, such as biobehavioral and psychosocial mechanisms, chronic overlapping conditions, and neurobiological mechanisms. The Tier 2 categories are also organized into nine research themes: pain mechanisms, basic to clinical, disparities, training and education, tools and instruments, risk factors and causes, surveillance and human trials, overlapping conditions, and use of services, treatments, and interventions.
The database was developed by NIH staff and members of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC). The IPRCC is a federal advisory committee formed to increase understanding of pain and improve treatment strategies by expanding pain research efforts and encouraging collaboration across the government. Four of the agencies that played a role in developing the IPRP are part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration. The other two agencies are the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.