Request for Information (RFI) on the NIH Back Pain Consortium (BACPAC) Research Program

Notice Number: NOT-AR-19-020

Key Dates
Release Date:  September 27, 2018
Release Date: September 28, 2018
Response Date: October 18, 2018

Related Announcements
NOT-AR-19-021- Notice of Upcoming Webinar for the NIH Back Pain Consortium (BACPAC) Research Program

Issued by
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)



Back pain is a major contributor to the use of opioids in the US. The mechanisms of back pain are likely to be complex, with a variety of organs, tissues and cell types interacting in an environment heavily influenced by mechanical, physical, biological and biopsychosocial factors that result in the experience of pain, a decrease in physical function and in emotional and social distress. The Back-Pain Research Consortium (BACPAC) is a patient-centric translational research program.The BACPAC Research Program initiative will support studies that will dissect the components and mechanisms of chronic low back pain and integrate all new information to identify, prioritize and test new therapies targeted to specific mechanisms. The goal of this initiative is to probe the biomedical mechanisms of the disease in a biopsychosocial context using interdisciplinary methods and innovative technologies so that novel individualized targeted treatments can be developed, tested and combined for an integrated approach to eradicate chronic back pain.

This highly collaborative research program will be composed of mechanistic research centers and technology sites that will conduct translational research and phase 2 clinical trials to deliver an integrated model of back pain and patient-based algorithms to facilitate the identification of treatments tailored to the individual patient.

Information Requested

This RFI solicits input from the research community and public stakeholders. NIAMS seeks input on study elements such as, but not limited to:

  • Characteristics and availability of current ongoing and planned back pain cohorts, including opportunities and obstacles to combining data from existing and new cohorts;
  • Availability and feasibility of clinical, laboratory-based and other approaches for deep phenotyping of patients with back pain;
  • Availability and feasibility of developing new and improved patient-based back pain algorithms   that predict long term outcomes and inform selection of most efficacious treatment for the individual patient;
  • Research designs, including clinical trials, that might be appropriate to accomplish the development of data-driven algorithms for individualized treatment plans for those with chronic low back pain;
  • Opportunities for development and testing of early stage technologies for diagnosis of low back pain;
  • Availability and preliminary information about non-addictive pain medications, drugs, biologics, devices, complementary, biopsychosocial and other interventions that can be tested in Phase 2 trials in the next 2-3-year time frame;
  • Opportunities and approaches to integrate data from biologic, molecular, imaging, biomechanical and other types of data into a dynamic model of back pain.


A more comprehensive list of study element the NIAMS seeks input on is included in the link below.

How to Submit a Response

Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically at

Responses must be received by October 18, 2018.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, trade secret, or sensitive information in your response. The responses will be reviewed by NIAMS staff, and individual feedback will not be provided to any responder. NIAMS will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder’s submission. Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted. The Government reserves the right to use any submitted information on public NIH websites, in reports, in summaries of the state of the science, in any possible resultant solicitation(s), grant(s), or cooperative agreement(s), or in the development of future funding opportunity announcements.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a solicitation, grant, or cooperative agreement, or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the NIH, or individual NIH Institutes and Centers to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. The Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government’s use of such information. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information.

We look forward to your input and hope that you will share this RFI document with your colleagues.



Please direct all inquiries to:

NIH Back Pain Consortium (BACPAC) Research Program
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases