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SIP 2017 - Presentation & Statement

Dr. Karim Berkouk – European Commission, Belgium

"The complexity of pain requires new approaches. This is the reason why the European Commission is pursuing the path of personalised medicine and develops patientcentered approaches."


Dr. Karim Berkouk
Directorate-General for Research & Innovation, Dir E - Health
Non-communicable diseases and the challenge of healthy ageing Unit

European Commission

There is a high unmet medical need for improving therapy and management of pain for a broad variety of underlying pathophysiologies and conditions with a potential high or devastating impact on health and quality of life of patients. The complexity of pain requires a multidisciplinary research approach which will enable the understanding of underpinning physiological mechanisms. The development of innovative, more efficient, safer and costeffective treatment options is a challenge requiring comprehensive approaches on European, multinational level to enable scientific groups and infra structures to team up and bringing together the needed expertise, capabilities and resources. In the last 10 years, the European Commission has invested some €195 Million in basic research and better understanding of related pathways and pathophysiologies, innovative treatments and diagnostics as well as in better management of pain and related social and socioeconomic implications and advancements of health care systems to improve the health status and wellbeing of patients suffering on pain conditions. In particular EC effort in pain research addresses acute and chronic pain, mechanisms, biomarkers, imaging, epidemiology, technology, prevention, early detection, palliative care, migraine.

Dr. Karim Berkouk is the deputy head of non-communicable diseases and the challenge of healthy ageing Unit in the Health Directorate of the Research & Innovation DG of the European Commission. He develops and implements research policies on ageing, cancer, brain, cardiovascular, chronic diseases, diabetes and obesity. Previously, he was head of sector for the EC Marie Curie Actions. Prior joining the EC, he held various research positions on prosthesis specific to patients, improvement of nuclear brain images and brain connectivity, respectively in Exeter (UK), the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM, FR) and Cambridge (UK). He graduated in fluid mechanics at the University of Paul Sabatier (Toulouse, FR) and holds a PhD in bio-fluid mechanics from the University of Warwick (UK), where he developed a new mathematical model for the understanding of the pathogenesis of Syringomyelia, a rare disease of the spinal cord.