NIAMS Update October 2009

NIAMS - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Update - An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleague
October 22, 2009
The NIAMS Update is a monthly digest published for those interested in the latest scientific news and resources on diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin. We encourage further dissemination of this resource.
In This Issue
   Funding Announcements
Contact Information

Office of Communications and Public Liaison

Janet S. Austin, Ph.D.

Melanie M. Martinez, M.P.A.
Public Liaison Officer

Trish Reynolds, R.N., M.S.
Media Liaison

NIAMS Extramural Program staff reviewing grants
NIAMS Grants Management staff reviewing grants

Building Sustainable Community-Linked Infrastructure To Enable Health Science Research (RC4) is a new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act or ARRA) funding opportunity. It was designed to develop or expand needed infrastructures to facilitate collaboration and communication between academic health centers and local communities. Proposals are expected to describe plans to maintain long-lived academic-community partnerships, beyond the ARRA funding, that support future research. The sustainability plan would address studies relevant to affected communities and dissemination of research results that enhance public health efforts. Approximately $30 million will be available for the initiative, for projects up to three years, with up to $1 million for the entire project period. Applications are due December 11, 2009. Please check the online funding opportunity announcement frequently about a pre-application Webcast in the near future.

  First NIAMS Director: Dr. Larry Shulman
  Lawrence E. Shulman, M.D., Ph.D.

Dear Colleagues:

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that Lawrence E. Shulman, M.D., Ph.D., the first Director of NIAMS, passed away at the age of 90. Dr. Shulman, who served as NIAMS Director from 1986 to 1994, was a world-renowned leader in the field of rheumatology research and a greatly admired mentor and teacher of many of today’s leading rheumatology investigators, both in the United States and abroad.

During his tenure as NIAMS Director, Dr. Shulman successfully guided the development of the Institute through its formative years. He played a pivotal role in facilitating the growth of both intramural and extramural programs, and he encouraged innovation and the pursuit of new scientific opportunities. He was a strong supporter of research on both women’s health and minority health issues and made studies of diseases such as osteoporosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma a high priority.

At the same time, Dr. Shulman understood the importance of addressing all of the diseases within the Institute’s broad and diverse mandate, and he successfully brought a number of the more costly and prevalent of these conditions to the forefront of the nation’s research agenda. Importantly, he also initiated new studies of rare diseases of the bones, muscles, joints, skin and connective tissues.

Dr. Shulman made many pivotal contributions to rheumatology research, including the discovery in 1974 of eosinophilic fasciitis, a connective tissue disorder that is known today as Shulman’s syndrome. He served in leadership positions in a number of professional organizations, most notably as president of the American Rheumatism Association (now the American College of Rheumatology) from 1974 to 1975 and as president of the Pan-American League Against Rheumatism from 1982 to 1986.

Dr. Shulman was passionate about serving patients and families affected by diseases within the NIAMS mission, and he received many awards and honors from both scientific societies and patient organizations for his unwavering support of promising research to reduce the heavy burden of these conditions. Upon Dr. Shulman’s retirement in 1994, then-NIH Director Harold E. Varmus, M.D., conferred the title of Director Emeritus on Dr. Shulman in recognition of his distinguished service to NIH.

We at NIAMS will always be indebted to Dr. Shulman for his tremendous vision and dedication to the Institute and its public health mission, and he will be greatly missed by his many friends and colleagues.

Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
NIAMS Director

President Obama Celebrates Recovery Act With NIH
On September 30, President Barack Obama and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visited NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, to commemorate the milestone achievement in medical research funding through the Recovery Act. Special guests in attendance included Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA). President Obama’s speech highlighted key investments in medical research through the Recovery Act.

NIH Launches Second Phase of Patient Reported Outcomes Initiative
NIH recently announced that it is awarding 15 new grants to further develop and test the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS). Managed by NIAMS, PROMIS aims to revolutionize the way patient reported outcome tools are selected and employed in clinical research and practice.

NIAMS ARRA Chronicles: Special Feature Stories Highlighting the Benefits of ARRA Funds in Communities Across the Country
NIAMS wants to hear your ARRA story and share your success with Congress, the Obama Administration, the public and your colleagues. This is an excellent opportunity for you to highlight your science and tell us how ARRA has benefited your work. Perhaps a job has been saved, an accomplishment has been made or research that couldn’t otherwise continue is advancing. We invite you to share your ARRA stories.

NIH Podcast Provides Insights on Autoimmune Diseases and Their Impact on Women
Your body’s immune system protects you from disease and infection. But if you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Autoimmune diseases are a category of disorders that can affect just about every organ system in the body—from hair to toenails—and are often chronic diseases that can go on for a lifetime.

Recently, Dr. Robert Carter, NIAMS Deputy Director and expert in the field of autoimmune diseases, was interviewed for the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) monthly podcast, “Pinn Point on Women’s Health.” The two-part program focused on lupus and on rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and other autoimmune diseases.

The podcast series, hosted by ORWH’s Director, Vivian W. Pinn, M.D., provides updates on women’s health research. To listen to the podcasts, visit ORWH’s home page and scroll down to “Podcasts.” Find out more information on how to use podcasts.

B-Cell Mutator Enzyme Promotes Resistance to Gleevec in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
A protein that normally mutates antibody genes in B cells triggers resistance to the drug Gleevec in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), according to a study conducted by researchers from NIAMS and the University of Southern California. The scientists found that the protein, activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), exists in high concentrations in CML cells that develop resistance to the drug, in comparison to CML cells that are effectively treated with the drug. This finding may lead to the development of therapies to improve survival in CML patients who develop drug resistance. The study appeared in the journal Cancer Cell.

An X-Chromosome Gene Involved in Lupus
Systemic lupus erythematosus, also known as lupus or SLE, is an autoimmune disease that can affect many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels and brain. In lupus, the immune system attacks one’s own tissues as if they were dangerous invaders. Its cause is currently unknown, but if researchers can understand the processes of the disease better, they can come closer to the development of new therapies and diagnostic techniques. Now, researchers funded in part by NIAMS have made an important step toward that end.

NIH Announces Expansion of Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network: Nineteen New and Returning Consortia To Be Awarded $117 Million
NIH announced a second phase of the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network, including funds for 19 research consortia. The Rare Diseases Clinical Research Consortia and a Data Management Coordinating Center will be awarded a total of just over $117 million over the next five years. The research conducted with the new funding will explore the natural history, epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of more than 95 rare diseases.

NIH Announces 115 Awards To Encourage High-Risk Research and Innovation: Recovery Act Funds Contribute to Increase
NIH announced that it is awarding $348 million to encourage investigators to explore bold ideas that have the potential to catapult fields forward and speed the translation of research into improved health. The full complement of awards is granted under three innovative research programs supported by the NIH Common Fund’s Roadmap for Medical Research: the NIH Director’s Transformative R01 (T-R01) Awards, Pioneer Awards and New Innovator Awards. The Common Fund, enacted into law by Congress through the 2006 NIH Reform Act, supports cross-cutting, trans-NIH programs with a particular emphasis on innovation and risk taking. A portion of these New Innovator Awards is also supported by funding from the Recovery Act.

NIH Opens Web Site for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines for Approval and Announces Members of Working Group
NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced that NIH is now accepting requests for human embryonic stem cell lines to be approved for use in NIH-funded research. The NIH Director also announced the members of a new working group of the Advisory Committee to the Director: the Working Group for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Eligibility Review.

NIH Funds Grantees Focusing on Epigenomics of Human Health and Disease
NIH announced that it will fund 22 grants on genome-wide studies of how epigenetic changes—chemical modifications to genes that result from diet, aging, stress or environmental exposures—define and contribute to specific human diseases and biological processes.

Consumer Health Information Request for Information (RFI)
The NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison and the NIH Director’s Council of Public Representatives have partnered to develop a Consumer Health Information RFI in response to a directive by President Barack Obama to all federal agencies calling for greater transparency, public participation and collaboration. The information gathered will assist NIH in developing and disseminating health, medical and scientific information to a broader variety of audiences. The RFI may be completed online in English or downloaded in Spanish.

Meetings and Events
NIH Director’s Council of Public Representatives Meeting
Friday, October 30, 2009
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

NIH Campus, Building 31, C Wing, 6th Floor, Conference Room 6C06, Bethesda, Maryland

To see a draft agenda for the 22nd consecutive meeting of the NIH Director’s Council of Public Representatives (COPR), please visit the COPR Web site.

The COPR is a federal advisory committee made up of 21 people from across the country chosen to represent the public through an open application process. They are patients, family members of patients, health care professionals, scientists, health and science communicators and educators.

The council advises the NIH Director on issues related to:

  • Public input and participation in NIH research activities
  • Public input and participation in the NIH research priority-setting process
  • NIH outreach programs and efforts
Next Steps

You can attend the fall COPR meeting at no cost. Visitors to the NIH Campus should bring a photo ID and allow additional time for security procedures. Call (301) 594-6677 for more information, or visit the NIH Web site to find out the best way to travel and where to get your visitor badge.

Contact Kelli Carrington, COPR Executive Secretary, at for more information.

The meeting will be available via videocast. Viewers can watch the live or archived video. RealPlayer is required to see the program and can be downloaded for free. Technical login support is also available.

NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series
NIH’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) offers weekly lectures every Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10, NIH Campus. Renowned scientists from around the globe present research on a variety of topics. The lectures are Continuing Medical Education-certified lectures, open to the public and available live via Webcast.

Upcoming lectures:

Dr. Robert Sapolsky
“Stress and Health: From Molecules to Societies”
October 28, 2009

Dr. Daniel Kastner
“Fevers, Genes, and Histories: Adventures in the Genomics of Inflammation”
November 18, 2009

September Shorttakes
NIAMS Shorttakes is a compilation of news from the Institute that is published three times a year in conjunction with NIAMS Advisory Council meetings.

NIH Public Bulletin
Read about the latest public events, activities and health information resources from NIH in the latest issue of the NIH Public Bulletin.

NIH News in Health
Read practical health information in NIH News in Health, which is reviewed by NIH’s medical experts and is based on research conducted either by NIH’s own scientists or by our grantees at universities and medical schools around the country.

Revised Publications

Questions and Answers about Rosacea
This booklet contains general information about rosacea. It describes what rosacea is, its causes and treatment options. Information about promising areas of research also is provided.

Funding Announcements
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Recovery Act Limited Competition: Building Sustainable Community-Linked Infrastructure To Enable Health Science Research (RC4)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: November 12, 2009
Application Receipt Date: December 11, 2009

Other Research Announcements

Mechanisms, Models, Measurement and Management in Pain Research (R01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

Mechanisms, Models, Measurement and Management in Pain Research (R21)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

Bioengineering Nanotechnology Initiative (STTR [R41/R42])
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

Bioengineering Nanotechnology Initiative (SBIR [R43/R44])
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

If you would like to review information about funding opportunities more frequently than our monthly updates allow, see the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, the primary source for information about NIH funding opportunities. You can also request a weekly Table of Contents from the NIH Guide.