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

Joan E. Cutillo, LPN, CCRC – Clinical Research Director
Joan is the research director of our Winter Park office where she oversees two full time coordinators and 3 investigators, while conducting anywhere from 3 to 5 trials at a time. Joan received her nursing degree in 1995 and started research in 2002. She received her research certification from ACRP in April of 2006. Joan has managed research sites in New York and Florida. With over 14 yrs of research experience, she is well trained in regulatory, budget and contract issues, as well as being a coordinator for over 10 yrs. She is also responsible for training and monitoring the site’s coordinators and investigators. Joan’s knowledge of GCPs and ICH guidelines is responsible for the confidence our site receives from sponsors. She was voted 1st runner up in the Pharma Times US National Research Competition in 2010 for the research coordinator category. There were over 1000 research coordinator contestants in that competition. Joan was also a presenter at the annual conference for the American Congress of Rehabilitative Medicine in Toronto, Canada in October 2014. She presented an instructional lecture for all new and potential investigators on how to build and effectively run a clinical trials department in their own practice.
Joan E. Cutillo

Curshinda Galvin-Burch, MA, CCRC
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 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.


Christopher Taylor, CMA, CRC
Christopher comes to us as an experienced medical assistant and phlebotomist with great attention to detail. He started with us August of 2015. He is working towards his CCRC certification. His attention to detail and strong work ethic is an asset to our department. He is trained in GCPs and the protection of human research subjects (NIH).


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.


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