Pain Management Research & Clinical Trials

The National Pain Institute is leading the way to establish national standards regarding pain management. Research supports the interdisciplinary approach as the best way to treat pain. The National Pain Research Institute is dedicated to the advancement of new and improved medications to aide in the treatment of the chronic pain patient. Check back periodically for any new clinical trials.


Our Current Studies


Center Overview

The National Pain Research Institute, LLC, is a division of the National Pain Institute, a Prospira PainCare Center of Excellence. Our research department, is currently conducting clinical trials in our Winter Park and Port St. Lucie offices. We are a full time, dedicated site, with full time certified coordinators, Principal and sub-investigators.

Our unique interdisciplinary treatment approach has been determined to be the most effective methodology according to the American Academy of Pain Management. We have the ability to conduct clinical trials involving all areas of the chronic pain syndrome.


Mission Statement


Patient Demographics

Our patient population is primarily between the ages of 40 to 75. We treat patients from the age of 18 and up. Chronic pain patients have many different diagnosis and issues they are being treated for. It is a very comprehensive specialty. Our chronic pain patient database consists of over 6000 patients. We can draw patients from 3 different surrounding counties from both of our central locations. Our patient population allows us to draw from a geriatric population as well as younger groups of patients. Chronic pain diseases include all age groups. We not only draw from age related disease patients but from traumatic injury patients as well.


Investigator Experience

Cherian K. Sajan, M.D., PI/Sub Investigator
Dr. Sajan has been with National Pain Institute since 2011. He completed a pain fellowship with us and went on to become an attending physician, principal investigator and sub-investigator. Dr Sajan is now the medical director of National Pain Institute Florida. Dr. Sajan is Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Pain Management. He is NIH trained for Human Research Subject protection and is GCP trained before every new trial. Dr. Sajan is committed to the research department and is actively involved in study feasibility, recruitment and assessment of our research patients.
staff-sajan

Anthony F. Afong, M.D., Principal Investigator, M.D., Principal Investigator
Dr. Afong has been with National Pain Institute since 2006. He started with us as a fellow as well and went on to become medical director and principal investigator of our Port St Lucie, Fl, office. Dr. Afong is NIH and GCP trained and has conducted trials in Chronic Low Back Pain, Opioid Induced Constipation and Intrathecal Hydromorphone for Chronic Pain. He is instrumental in the study feasibility and recruitment aspects of pretrial selection for his site.
staff-afong

Cesar A. Lassalle-Nieves, M.D., Principal Investigator
Dr. Lassalle has been with the National Pain Research Institute since 2012. After completing a pain fellowship in our pain management practice and serving as a subinvestigator on our clinical trials, he became Medical Director for the Advanced Interventional Pain Clinic and a Principal Investigator for the National Pain Research Institute, Orlando office. Dr. Lassalle is GCP certified through Clinical Trials Network NIDA and NIH for human research subject protection training. His patient database is strong and Dr. Lassalle is active in patient prescreening as well as study start up and conduct.
Cesar A. Lassalle, MD

Staff Expertise

Wendy Decillis, RN, CRC
Wendy is a Registered Nurse coordinator in our Port St Lucie office. She is instrumental in the success of her department, she is the lead coordinator conducting all study activities including regulatory. Wendy works very well independently. Her insight and judgment, along with her attention to detail, is what sets her apart as an exceptional research coordinator. Wendy is trained in phlebotomy, EKG, IATA certification, UDS, various EDC systems, eDiaries and tablets, source creation, monitoring visits, GCP certification and complete conduct of a clinical protocol.


Curshinda Galvin-Burch, MA, CCRC – Clinical Research Manager
Curshinda has been with National Pain Institute since 2009. She is the full time lead CCRC for our Winter Park, FL office. Curshinda is well trained in EKG, phlebotomy, EDC on many systems, eDiary, UDS, site tablets and IATA certification for shipping dangerous goods. She completes monitoring visits, Site Initiation, close out visits, source creation and total conduction of each protocol. Curshinda is a knowledgeable and reliable certified clinical research coordinator that maintains a high quality of work sought after by our sponsors. She also takes part in the training of our newer coordinators and the inservicing of our physicians on new protocols.


Berta AC Kee, BS, CCRA, CCPM, MCSSBB | Director, Clinical Research and Business Development

Berta is the Director of Clinical Research and Business Development for the National Pain Research Institute, LLC (NPRI) corporation.

Berta received her CCRA from ACRP in April 2000, obtained her CCPM from the University of Chicago, Six Sigma Lean, Green and Black Belt in Industrial and Organizational Management from Villanova University and sat for her Master Certification as a Six Sigma Black Belt in 2009. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Management.

Berta is a seasoned veteran with well over twenty years of experience supervising protocol teams for a variety of corporate entities to include but not limited to: Bio-technology, Pharmaceutical, Clinical Research Organization (CRO), Site Management Organizations (SMO), Hospitals, Universities, Laboratories and Governmental agencies on a globalized platform. She comes to NPRI, LLC with over seven years as a Certified Clinical Research Associate, two years as a Certified Clinical Project Manager, twelve years as a Global Clinical Trial Manager and Contract Site Trial Advisor for various Investigator Clinical Research facilities. Berta has managed a variety of Clinical Research projects to include: Phases I-IV, Investigator Initiated Trials, External Non-Clinical Research Studies, Observational and Registry.

Her scope of management capabilities include but are not limited to working directly with various globalized talent ranging from Vice Presidents, Medical Directors, Investigators, Medical Liaisons, Global Study Coordinators, Affiliates, Jr/Sr Clinical Research Nurses Coordinators, Jr/Sr Clinical Research Associates, various Joint Committee Members, Legal and Patent Departments.

She is expertly trained in regulatory, budget, contract negotiation, quality assurance, compliance and staff oversight.

Berta’s accolades include assisting a boutique CRO in the obtainment of preferred provider status, framework and start-up for a three million dollar


Other Information

The National Pain Research Institute, LLC, is able to use a central IRB. We have experience with many of the central IRBs: WIRB, Quorum, Schulman, NEIRB, Coast IRB, Aspire IRB, Copernicus and others.

We also have legal counsel who will consult on contract issues, and HIPAA compliance.


Facility Description

Our interdisciplinary site offers multi-therapeutic outpatient care to our patients. Our patients are seen by Board Certified MDs and have the opportunity to have their entire treatment plan carried out in our office.

Our facility has X-ray capabilities as well as ECGs, and phlebotomy. We have infusion therapy for subjects requiring it. In our surgical procedure room we perform cervical and lumbar epidurals, cervical and lumbar Facet injections, flouroscopic guided Radio Frequency Lesioning, nerve blocks, trigger point injections, implantable medication dispensing pump trials, spinal cord stimulation trials and joint injections.

Our Winter Park office is just outside the city of Orlando. We are the largest pain management facility in the Central Florida area. We have direct access to the public transportation system with bus stops right outside our door.

Our Port St. Lucie facility is located directly off of I-95, in the heart of St. Lucie West. It also has easy access to the public transportation system.

Both of our facilities are less than an hour to the nearest international airport.


Description of Current Clinical Studies



annular disc tears

  • 18yrs and older
  • Single or multilevel lumbar disc tears
  • Prior discography, MRI needed
  • No active litigation related to lumbar pain