Astellas Pharma Europe is a pharmaceutical company committed to discovering and developing new approaches to pain management.
Central to this effort is Astellas' rational drug discovery process. Through this process, we investigate the core mechanisms of pain in order to achieve our aim of discovering treatments with the potential to fulfil unmet medical needs and offer a brighter future for patients whose quality of life is compromised by chronic pain.
Our first area of focus is neuropathic pain – a complex disorder that can be overwhelming. Neuropathic pain results from damage to nerves rather than to skin, muscle or bone. Neuropathic pain can be caused by a range of diseases such as shingles and diabetes, treatments, such as some chemotherapies and HIV medications, and injuries, such as amputation and other surgical interventions.
Peripheral neuropathic pain (PNP), a type of neuropathic pain, has a burden often misunderstood by a patient’s friends and loved ones. It can last indefinitely and is often progressive. PNP can have an overwhelming impact on the lives of those who live with it including family life and social life as well as ability to work and to perform day-to-day activities.
The symptoms are often described as ‘burning’, ‘stabbing’ or ‘electric shock-like,’ and can include a variety of unpleasant and painful sensations. Exactly how many people suffer from neuropathic pain is not known but estimates for the percentage of the European population affected by the condition range from 3% to as high as 8%.i
In 2011, a pan-European campaign called The Pain Within was launched in Hamburg, Germany. The exhibition is currently touring Europe and consists of specially-commissioned photographic patient portraits by award-winning photographer Alex Telfer to raise awareness of peripheral neuropathic pain.
Each image featured in The Pain Within captures the experiences of people living with neuropathic pain. Alex Telfer worked with patients from across Europe to understand how they feel about their pain and challenges that they face with it every day. He then spent time with them in a London studio to capture images that could convey those feelings and experiences to others.
The aim of The Pain Within is to boost the profile of PNP and foster greater understanding of the disease and the burden it places on patients. The Pain Within will help the friends and loved ones of those living with PNP, as well as the general public, to understand the patient’s perspective and the challenges they face every day. Ultimately, it will help patients living with the condition by creating an environment in which the burden of their disease is recognised and understood.
As part of its commitment to people living with PNP The Pain Within is supported by Astellas Pharma Europe to raise awareness of neuropathic pain.
i Giron et al. CMAJ 2006 / Mailis Gagnon A et al. European Journal of Pain 2007