Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage (IASP Taxonomy, 2011).


Pain can be acute, persistent (chronic), episodic or associated to pathologies like cancer.

Clinically, chronic pain can have different aetiologies (inflammation, nerve injury, cancer) and persists over a long period of time. It is often resistant to most medical treatments and associated with debilitating emotional co-morbidities such as anxiety and depression.




A condition of persistent pain may lead to:


• reduced quality of life for patients and their families

• inability to work

• co-morbidities such as anxiety and depression

• important social costs (absence from work, health care)


A recent survey of more than 46,000 people in 16 European countries revealed that almost 1 in 5 adult in Europe suffers from chronic pain – i.e. moderate-to-severe non-cancer pain persisting for more than 6 months (Pain in Europe Survey).

Italy was the third country with the highest prevalence (26%, n=3,849) with just over 1 in 4 adults reported suffering from chronic pain (Pain in Europe Survey).

The prevalence of chronic pain increases dramatically with age and at least every second person is affected among people older than 65 years (Social Impact of Pain).


Therefore, pain is recognized as a public health problem with heavy social, ethical, legal and economic burdens, and big efforts are made nationally and worldwide to tackle the therapeutic and organizational challenges associated with this condition.


Clinically, some important needs are still unmet:


• Effective pain management can be achieved only in a small proportion of patients >> need for more effective drugs

• Some drugs bear important side effects >> need for safer drugs

• A number patients do not respond to currently available drugs >> need to identify genotypes of nociception and pain

• Lack of objective diagnostic tests >> need to identify biomarkers of nociception and pain


Our Mission

  •  Basic research
  •  Translational Research
  •  Higher Education


Our mission is to contribute to improve our understanding of pain signaling, particularly in chronic conditions. By gaining insights into the basic molecular and cellular mechanisms of pain, valuable information can be obtained for successful translation into new, more effective therapies.


Our mission is also to promote educational initiatives including International Meetings and Workshops locally, to give young researchers and PhD students the opportunity to join international renowned scientists and discuss the latest advances in pain research.