Faculty conversations: David Juckett
For the last 30 years, David Juckett has dedicated himself to biomedical research at MSU.
Juckett spent 25 years as the associate director of Barros Research Institute — founded by MSU professor Barnett Rosenberg who discovered the anticancer drug cisplatin — where he developed new drugs and took them to first-in-human clinical trials.
Juckett, now with MSU Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, turns his research focus to an ongoing problem in the medical community for both patients and practitioners alike: chronic pain.
“Pain is a particularly difficult problem in the field of medicine,” Juckett said. “You can’t put a person in a machine and get an answer that they have a pain level of eight.”
More Americans seek treatment every year for chronic pain than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Chronic pain can lead to depression and drug dependence as well as reduction in creativity, performance and motivation.
Juckett said there is an urgent need to enhance treatment strategies for chronic pain.
“Even though many people go to primary care physicians for pain, they don’t always get the best suggestions,” Juckett said. “Patients get seen in a very brief amount of time and there’s a lot to consider.”
According to Juckett, the treatment of chronic pain is particularly challenging and it’s provided almost exclusively in outpatient settings by family practice, allied health professionals and complementary and alternative medicine practitioners.
MSU Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, partnered with ProCare Systems of Grand Rapids and the Michigan Pain Consultants of West Michigan, is studying the treatment of pain in community practice.
The Michigan Pain Consultants see nearly 18,000 patients multiple times throughout the year. The patients regularly complete surveys tracking pain levels, daily living habits and emotional status, and physicians create progress notes for the patients that are then transcribed electronically. Juckett has begun studying this information.
Juckett leads the research effort to understand, quantify and model various chronic pain conditions and their optimal treatment strategies. The goal is to enable evidence-based decisions from common patterns among patients and successful treatments.
One of the goals of this research is to create a clinical decision support tool to help medical practitioners give the best possible advice for treating chronic pain, said Juckett.
“This is what MSU wants to do,” Juckett said. “Get out into the community, learn from the community and give something back to the community.”