WVU
The clonidine micropellet, shown next to a dime for size comparison, is implanted in a patient's lower back to combat sciatica pain for up to one year. (Photo courtesy of Sollis Corp.)

WVU first site to launch clinical trial utilizing non-opioid micropellet implant for chronic pain

As part of an ongoing commitment to battle opioid addiction, the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute at West Virginia University today marked a major milestone, enrolling the first patient in a randomized clinical trial that will test the effectiveness of an injectable non-opioid, non-steroid micropellet to treat sciatica.

The phase III clinical trial utilizes a clonidine micropellet, which is half the size of a grain of rice and is placed in a patient’s lower back to combat sciatica pain for up to one year. The procedure was successfully completed this afternoon.

“Innovative technologies that act directly at a target location like this micropellet are crucial to reducing the need for systemic medications and opioids for chronic pain,” Ali Rezai, MD, executive chair of the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, said. “Our hope is that we can look back on this day and say we made a significant advance in the ongoing efforts to treat chronic pain and combat the opioid crisis.”

Rezai is not directly involved in the trial as he serves as a scientific advisor to Sollis Therapeutics, the Ohio-based interventional pain company developing the micropellet.

With more than five million people in the U.S. affected by sciatica – one of the most common causes of back and leg pain – the Sollis micropellet can potentially provide patients with a pain-relief solution and an alternative to addictive opioid pain medications. Unfortunately, in many cases, currently available treatment options for the pain management of sciatica and other back pain have inadvertently led to opioid abuse.

“Having the opportunity to investigate new non-opioid treatments for sciatica and a range of pain conditions is directly aligned with the WVU Medicine Center for Integrative Pain Management’s mission to combat the opioid crisis in West Virginia and nationwide,” Richard Vaglienti, MD, principal investigator and director of the Center for Integrative Pain Management, said.

“Our doctors and researchers at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute continue to do amazing things that will help make all of our lives better,” President Gordon Gee said. “This kind of ground-breaking research would not be possible without the assistance of many people, including Gov. Jim Justice, Rep. David McKinley and Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin, all of whom have been fully supportive of these initiatives.”

In West Virginia, where the number of opioid-related deaths is on course to set a record for overdose deaths this year, the micropellet procedure – if successful – could one day be a game-changer.

“Knowing that even a single day of opioid usage is associated with a probability that the patient will be taking opioids a year later underscores the need for innovations like ours to impact the opioid crisis,” Gregory Fiore, MD, president and CEO of Sollis Therapeutics, said. “We are pleased to team up with the researchers at the WVU RNI and other sites nationwide.”

Additional patients are expected to participate in the study at WVU. To see if you or a family member might be eligible, please contact Angela Pugh by emailing ADPUGH@hsc.wvu.edu or calling 304.293.6780.

The West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute is a global leader in the discovery, development, and delivery of world-class research in human performance and brain health. It includes the clinical, research, and academic missions of the WVU Departments of Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, as well as several other academic departments across the university. The Institute spearheads efforts to develop innovative solutions for West Virginians and those across the world with neurological and psychiatric conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s; autism to stroke; and paralysis to chronic pain, addiction, and traumatic brain injury. For more information on the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, visit wvumedicine.org/RNI

SHOPS & SERVICES

Featured

St. Joseph’s Hospital recognizes Advanced Practice Providers

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – St. Joseph’s Hospital recognized the contributions of their Advance Practice Providers (APP) during National Advanced Practice Week from September 26 to 30.  Jennifer Dorazio, Director of Ancillary Services and Ambulatory Clinics, personally

Fish Hawk Acres invites community to events this October

BUCKHANNON – Mark your calendar: Fish Hawk Acres will offer several exciting events this month. Experience the fun and fine dining of Fish Hawk Acres through their Wine Clubs and Farm Dinner Series. Register for

A ‘Dicken’s Christmas’ coming to downtown Buckhannon this holiday season

BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon will go back in time this holiday season to celebrate a Dicken’s Christmas this December. Becki Westfall attended the Sept. 22 Consolidated Public Works meeting to request street closures and the use of Jawbone Park for a […]

There’s more to this story! Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to daily, in-depth local news that matters to you. Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.

SHOPS & SERVICES

Football Little Bucs roll past Tucker Valley, 38-14

TENNERTON – Brody McDaniels threw for two touchdowns and 84 yards as the Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School Little Bucs cruised to a 38-14 win over visiting Tucker Valley Thursday night at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium. Going to a spread offense […]

There’s more to this story! Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to daily, in-depth local news that matters to you. Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.

Falkenstein and Shreve run one and two as Lady Bucs win Polar Bear Invitational

FAIRMONT – Lydia Falkenstein and Samantha Shreve ran first and second to lead the Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Buc cross country team to a victory in the five-team Polar Bear Invitational Saturday afternoon. Falkenstein clocked a winning time of 18:22.9, while Shreve […]

There’s more to this story! Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to daily, in-depth local news that matters to you. Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.

Upshur County Sports Calendar

MONDAY (Oct. 3) Football University (Junior Varsity) at Buckhannon-Upshur, 7 p.m. Golf West Virginia Wesleyan (Men) at MEC Championships at Warren, Ohio, TBA West Virginia Wesleyan (Women) at MEC Championships at Warren, Ohio, TBA Volleyball

SHOPS & SERVICES

St. Joseph’s Hospital recognizes Advanced Practice Providers

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – St. Joseph’s Hospital recognized the contributions of their Advance Practice Providers (APP) during National Advanced Practice Week from September 26 to 30.  Jennifer Dorazio, Director of Ancillary Services and Ambulatory Clinics, personally

2023 West Virginia Wildlife Calendar now available to purchase

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.VA. — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources today announced that the 2023 West Virginia Wildlife Calendar is now available to purchase online at WVstateparks.com. “If you’re a hunter, angler or outdoor