For the first time, scientists are going to begin collecting brain and spinal cord tissues from fibromyalgia patients for research that will hopefully give them new insights into the cause of FM and new avenues of effective treatments.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) awarded a $1.4 million grant to Dr. Dianne Lorton, head of the Sun Health Research Institute’s Robert J. Hoover Center for Arthritis Research, to establish this first ever fibromyalgia tissue bank. In addition to the NIH grant, a $100,000 grant from the American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association and another pilot project grant from the NIH is making this project possible.
The research will initially focus on glial cells (activated brain and spinal cord cells) to determine whether they are involved in long-term pain conditions. This in turn will allow for the development of new drugs to control chronic-pain responses.
The Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City, near Phoenix, Arizona is now enrolling donors. Although tissue donation does not occur until the donor’s death, donors will be asked to visit the institute annually for an FM assessment and to complete a pain-assessment questionnaire. Those who are enrolled as donors are also entitled to priority placement on a list of candidates for participation in future clinical trials of new pain drugs. For more information about becoming a tissue donor, call 623-875-6528.