NCATS-Supported NIH HEAL Projects

Through the NIH HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM) Initiative, NCATS is applying breakthrough approaches of translational science to advance new treatments for the opioid crisis, the public health challenge of our era. NCATS HEAL-related projects include human cell-based testing platforms; novel drugs to treat pain, addiction, and overdose; and comparative effectiveness studies through the NIH HEAL Pain Management Effectiveness Network.

Human Cell-Based Screening (HCBS) Platforms to Treat Pain, Addiction and Overdose

Scientist working in a lab

(Daniel Soñé Photography)

NCATS scientists will work with the broader scientific community to develop HCBS platforms to treat pain, addiction and overdose. Scientific teams will develop these new platforms using induced pluripotent stem cell–derived neurons, 3-D bioprinted tissue models, and tissue chip systems that model pain, addiction and overdose. Learn more about HCBS platform development.

Accelerating the Translation of Novel Compounds Toward INDs for Subsequent Clinical Testing

NCATS experts also will accelerate the translation of novel compounds toward investigational new drug (IND) applications needed for subsequent clinical testing. To do this, NCATS experts will work collaboratively with investigators to develop new chemical structures to modulate novel targets, create pharmacological probes for new targets, and make investigational drugs ready for clinical testing. Learn more about how NCATS is accelerating this process for subsequent clinical testing.

The NIH HEAL Pain Management Effectiveness Research Network (NIH HEAL Pain Management ERN)

Using NCATS’ Clinical and Translational Science Awards Trial Innovation Network, the NIH HEAL Pain Management ERN will support studies to compare the effectiveness of existing pain treatments and novel approaches to prevent and manage pain while reducing the risk of addiction. The goal is to provide clinicians with information about the effectiveness of treatments or management strategies that reduce opioid use and pain associated with many types of diseases or conditions. Learn more about how the NIH HEAL Pain Management ERN will use the Trial Innovation Network for these studies.