Upcoming Events

ISMRM Workshop on MR Value Mar 11, 2019 - Mar 13, 2019 — University of Edinburgh
European Molecular Imaging Meeting 2019 Mar 19, 2019 - Mar 22, 2019 — Scottish Event Campus, Glasgow
2nd International Conference on Medical Imaging with Deep Learning Jul 08, 2019 - Jul 10, 2019 — ICL South Kensington Campus, London
4th International Workshop on Image Processing Techniques and Applications Jul 22, 2019 - Jul 23, 2019 — Centre for Mathematical Imaging Techniques (CMIT), University of Liverpool, England
Medical Image Understanding and Analysis Conference 2019 Jul 24, 2019 - Jul 26, 2019 — University of Liverpool, England

PhD studentship in Edinburgh: Topical menthol for the management of peripheral neuropathic pain, using an RCT with fMRI

Rapid translation from bench to bedside of topical menthol, a TRPM8 agonist, for management of peripheral neuropathic pain, using an RCT with fMRI

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) occurs in up to 70% of patients receiving chemotherapy for cancer. Safe, effective analgesia for CIPN patients is an important unmet need. Assessment of new analgesics by randomised controlled trials (RCTs) is complicated by the subjective nature of pain and the influence of an active placebo response, resulting in analgesic RCTs often describing small effect sizes, which are difficult to interpret clinically. Specifically in CIPN, the varied individual experiences of neuropathic pain, not easy to standardise clinically or with Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST), make the assessment of new analgesics particularly difficult.

The advent of fMRI as a research tool, with its ability to detect alterations in regional CNS activity underpinning behavioural changes, has greatly aided in unravelling processes of plasticity in the CNS. In our earlier preclinical work we discovered that peripheral activation of non-nociceptive afferents, which express the TRPM8 ion channel (and normally participate in sensing innocuous cool temperatures) results in central suppression of hypersensitive neuropathic pain. The mechanism appears to involve non-opioid gating within the spinal dorsal horn, but how this impacts on supraspinal pain processing is unknown. Our group and others have provided case study and proof-of-concept open label trial data establishing the clinical efficacy of this strategy in neuropathic pain patients. Evolving this evidence is now very important clinically. Our RCT of topical menthol vs placebo for CIPN, with embedded fMRI should enhance the evidence base significantly. The study will provide important new opportunities to assess alignment between clinical, QST and fMRI evaluation of the efficacy of TRPM8 agonist treatment and further, gain insights into functional (and connectivity) changes in forebrain regions registering affective, as well as sensory-discriminitive pain responses.

For details of this project with Prof Marie Fallon, Dr Heather Whalley, Prof Susan Fleetwood-Walker and Dr Paul Mitchell at the University of Edinburgh, go to https://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID=98990

The deadline for application is 7 August 2018