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Genetic Pain Study (sponsored by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Cambridge)

We wish to understand the genetics of patients with chronic pain that is difficult to treat or explain. One example is complex regional pain syndrome.

We know that certain genes can cause extremely unusual diseases of pain sensing. For example, very rare mutations in a gene known as SCN9A can cause either extreme pain in a condition known as erythromelalgia, or prevent patients from experiencing any physically induced pain at all. Such genes are currently of interest for the development of new drug treatments for chronic pain.

We would like to identify further genes that strongly influence the amount of pain a person feels. The discovery of any new genes whose function is not affected by currently available drugs could lead to the development of new treatments.

In this study, led by the University of Cambridge, we recruited patients with chronic pain disorders for whom current medical treatments have not provided a complete solution to their pain. All patients who were suitable were asked to donate a salivary for genetic analyses and complete an assessment that characterises their chronic pain through self-reported questionnaires.

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