NIAMS Update May 2010

NIAMS - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Update - An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleague
May 27, 2010
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.
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


Daniel Kastner Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Daniel Kastner, M.D., Ph.D.  
Daniel Kastner, M.D., Ph.D.  
Congratulations to Dr. Daniel Kastner who, in recognition of his distinguished achievements in original research, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Kastner has been a pioneer in applying the tools of positional cloning to rheumatic disease, which has led to the uncovering of a new class of disorders. He first led an international consortium that mapped and then isolated the gene causing Familial Mediterranean Fever. His outstanding group then went on to characterize, both at a clinical and a molecular genetic level, several other related conditions, and proposed the new terminology of autoinflammatory disease as a unifying pathogenic concept.


New MRI Techniques Hold Potential for Predicting OA Progression
New techniques that analyze cartilage by layers may one day help scientists predict which patients are most likely to have progressive cases of osteoarthritis (OA), a painful and potentially debilitating disease that occurs when cartilage, which normally cushions the bones, breaks down. Perhaps more importantly, these techniques may aid in the development of new treatments for the disease, say NIAMS-supported scientists, whose research was published in the journal Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

NIAMS-Funded Scientists Find Potential Target for Fibrosis Treatment
Two separate research groups funded by NIAMS have discovered that the molecule EGR-1 (early growth response 1), which regulates gene expression, plays a central role in the development of fibrosis, a condition in which organ-supporting tissue becomes thick, hard, and rigid, hindering normal tissue and organ function. Controlling EGR-1, say the scientists, could potentially be a therapy for such disorders as scleroderma and pulmonary fibrosis. Their findings have been reported in the American Journal of Pathology.

Odor Receptor Influences Muscle Formation, Repair
Scientists supported by NIAMS have found that mouse odorant receptor 23 (MOR23), a protein involved in odor recognition, also affects the ability of muscle cells to grow, migrate, change and fuse to form muscle fibers. A research team at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta discovered that when muscle cells begin to come together to form fibers, the gene for MOR23 becomes more active, producing the receptor protein. Their study has been reported in the journal Developmental Cell.

Scientists Discover Origin and Clarify Sensory Role of Merkel Cells
Scientists supported by NIAMS, as well as several other National Institutes of Health (NIH) components and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, reported findings in the journals Developmental Biology and Science that should help resolve two longstanding controversies about Merkel cells: where they come from and their role in sensory perception.

Joint Tissue Findings Offer Potential Insight into Rheumatoid Arthritis
New research supported in part by NIAMS, looking directly at joint tissue in people with arthritis, is giving investigators a better understanding of the antibodies involved in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a condition in which chronic inflammation causes pain, stiffness and damage to the joints. Antibodies are molecules that participate in the immune system's protection of the body by recognizing harmful antigens such as viruses and bacteria. In RA, antibodies called autoantibodies are directed against a person's own healthy tissues.

2011 Statement to the House Appropriations Subcommittee
NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., prepared a statement addressed to the chair and members of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 NIAMS budget; it is available on the NIAMS Web site. The FY 2011 request was for $555,715,000, which is $16,861,000 more than the comparable FY 2010 appropriation of $538,854,000.

David Norris, M.D., University of Colorado, Denver; Bruce Bebo, Jr., Ph.D., National Psoriasis Foundation; Stephen Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Director of NIAMS  
From left to right: David Norris, M.D., University of Colorado, Denver; Bruce Bebo, Jr., Ph.D., National Psoriasis Foundation; Stephen Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Director of NIAMS  

NIAMS' Katz Receives Honor from National Psoriasis Foundation
NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., was honored by the National Psoriasis Foundation for his work and dedication in expanding research for chronic diseases, including psoriasis. He was honored at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in March.

NIH Study Confirms Location of Stem Cells Near Cartilage-Rich Regions in Bones: First Step in Effort to Use Bone Stem Cells to Repair Malformed, Damaged Bone
Working with mice, a team of researchers has pinpointed the location of bone-generating stem cells in the spine, at the ends of shins and in other bones. The team also has identified factors that control the stem cells' growth. The research was conducted at NIH and other institutions.

Statement of NIH Director on Federal Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Lines
NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced that 13 additional human embryonic stem cell lines have been approved for Federal funding and added to the NIH Stem Cell Registry. This includes four lines from the WiCell Research Institute of Madison, WI, which had been approved under the George W. Bush administration. Two of those four lines (H7 and H9) have been used widely by researchers over the years. The other stem cell derivers are Stanford University, the University of California, Los Angeles, and Harvard University. For more information, visit the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry.

Meetings and Events

Save the Date: NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting
The next NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held June 15, 2010, in Building 31, 6th floor, C Wing, Conference Room 6, NIH Campus.

September 2-3, 2010
NIH - National Library of Medicine
Bethesda, MD

This meeting will bring together basic research scientists working on models of autoimmune disease relevant to lupus and clinicians treating lupus patients. There are numerous mouse models of lupus, but their relevance to the actual disease is still a subject for debate. Moreover, human lupus is a heterogeneous disease, so some features of the disease may be reflected better in one or another mouse model. We hope participants will come to the meeting with open minds to discuss the clinical and molecular similarities, as well as the differences, seen in human disease and animal models. In addition, we encourage input from attendees, regarding what clinical markers would be most important for monitoring the disease and assessing the effectiveness of treatment in humans and mouse models. It is hoped that one consequence of this meeting will be a consensus on what the most important features of the disease are and what animal models will be most useful in developing new markers and treatments for the disease.

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:

June 2, 2010
Dr. Bruce Spiegelman
"Transcriptional Control of Adipogenesis and Systemic Energy Homeostasis"

June 9, 2010
Dr. Yuan Chang
"A New Virus as a Culprit in Human Cancer"

June 16, 2010
Dr. Rafi Ahmed
"Memory CD8 T-Cell Differentiation"

June 23, 2010
Dr. Karen Duff
"It Takes Tau to Tangle: Plaques, Tangles, and Neurodegenerative Disease"

June 30, 2010
Dr. Joan Steitz
"Regulating the Activity of MicroRNAs in Vertebrate Cells"


NIH Research Matters
NIH Research Matters is a review of NIH research from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, NIH.

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.

Dairy Dilemma: Are You Getting Enough Calcium?

You may be avoiding dairy products because of lactose intolerance. Or, you might have other reasons. But dairy products are a major source of calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients that are important for your body. If you are avoiding dairy products, you need to take special care to make sure you are getting enough of these nutrients.

Funding Announcements
NIH Roadmap Initiative Announcement

Assay Development for High Throughput Molecular Screening (R21)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: June 29, 2010, and October 29, 2010

NIAMS Research Announcement

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for: Centers of Research Translation (CORT) (P50) RFA-AR-11-002

Other Research Announcements

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

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

Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Cooperative Research Projects (U01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: August 14, 2010
Application Receipt Date: September 14, 2010

Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Research Centers of Excellence (U54)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: August 14, 2010
Application Receipt Date: September 14, 2010

Instructions for Completion and Technical Evaluation of the Vertebrate Animal Section (VAS) in NIH Contract Proposals

Policy Reminder Concerning Appendix Materials for All NIH/AHRQ/NIOSH Grant Applications

Request for Information (RFI): Priorities for the NIH Adherence Research Network

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Award Levels Adjusted to $150,000 (Phase I) and $1,000,000 (Phase II)

Enhancing Peer Review: Clarification of Resubmission Policy and Determination of New Application Status

Guidance on Confirming Appropriate Charges to NIH Awards during Periods of Noncompliance for Activities Involving Animals

Update of Sample Animal Welfare Assurance for Foreign Institutions

Extension of Expiration Date for PA-07-277, PA-06-367 and PA-06-368: Research on Ethical Issues in Human Subjects Research

Final Opportunity to Attend a 2010 NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration: Register Now for Portland, OR (June 24-25, 2010)

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.