Researchers at UTMB have been awarded a $1.8 million, five-year grant to apply methods of gene therapy to pain that arises from malfunctions in the nervous system, known as neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is caused by accidental or disease-induced nerve damage and is difficult to treat, said Dr. Volker Neugebauer, co-principal investigator of the grant. Long-term neuropathic pain can cause depression, which further increases the perception of pain. Conventional pain medicines block the pain signal but only for a short time. Neugebauer and co-principal investigator Thomas Green will target a different part of the brain to see if they can prevent the emotions from forming in the first place.