NIAMS Update September 2010

NIAMS - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Update - An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleague
September 30, 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


New NIAMS Funding Opportunity Announcement: Deadline November 18, 2010
Pilot and Feasibility Clinical Research Grants in Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (R21)
Opening Date:  October 18, 2010
Application Due Date:  November 18, 2010

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement is to encourage the exploratory/developmental clinical research related to the prevention or treatment of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, conditions and/or injuries. The Pilot and Feasibility Clinical Research Grants Program is designed to allow initiation of exploratory, short-term clinical studies, so that new ideas may be investigated without stringent requirements for preliminary data. The short-term studies should focus on research questions that are likely to gather critical preliminary data in support of a future, planned clinical trial. They can include testing new or prevention strategies, a new intervention or unique combinations of therapies. A high priority is the use of such studies to help stimulate the translation of promising research developments from the laboratory into clinical practice.

NIH Encourages Plain Language When Communicating Research Intent and Value
In support of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) mission, it is vital that information about NIH-funded research be readily available and relay the value of biomedical research and its potential impact on public health. It is equally important for this information to be easily understood by those interested in learning more. Therefore, NIH strongly encourages grant applicants to use clear, succinct, professional language in titles, abstracts and statements of public health relevance in all applications submitted to NIH. Once funded, these portions of the application are publicly available on the NIH Web site, RePORTER. Peer reviewers are expecting the use of plain language in these sections and know to look in the body of the application for the technical detail.

For more information on this topic, as well as “before” and “after” examples of using plain language in NIH grant applications, visit Communicating Research Intent and Value on the Office of Extramural Research Web site. NIH also offers tips for the use of plain language on its Web page, Clear Communication:  An NIH Health Literacy Initiative.

Questions about the use of plain language in your NIH application should be discussed with an NIH Program Official prior to submission.


NIH Statement regarding Stay of Stem Cell Injunction
“We are pleased with the Court's interim ruling, which will allow promising stem cell research to continue while we present further arguments to the Court in the weeks to come. With the temporary stay in place, NIH has resumed intramural research and will continue its consideration of grants that were frozen by the preliminary injunction on August 23. The suspension of all grants, contracts and applications that involve the use of human embryonic stem cells has been temporarily lifted. Human embryonic stem cell research holds the potential for generating profound new insights into disease, cell-based therapeutics and novel methods of screening for new drugs.”

Kathleen Green, Ph.D., Viktor Todorovic (postdoctoral fellow), Jennifer Koetsier (technician)
Kathleen Green, Ph.D., Viktor Todorovic (postdoctoral fellow), Jennifer Koetsier (technician)

ARRA Funds Push Skin Research Forward
Kathleen Green, Ph.D., a professor of pathology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, studies the epithelial cells that form the outermost layer of the skin. Funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and administered by NIAMS have enabled her to add staff and equipment to her lab. This has bolstered Dr. Green’s ability to better understand how skin epithelial cells communicate not only with each other, but with molecules in the extracellular matrix that lies below them.

NIH Awards Grants to Support Biomedical Research in Space
NIH announced that it has awarded the first new grants under the Biomedical Research on the International Space Station (BioMed-ISS) initiative, a collaborative effort between NIH and NASA. Using a special microgravity environment that Earth-based laboratories cannot replicate, researchers will explore fundamental questions about important health issues, such as how bones and the immune system get weak.

Complex Lower Back Surgeries in U.S. Elderly on the Rise
Researchers funded by NIAMS have identified an increase in the rate of complicated surgical procedures for lower back pain in the elderly. Their study, published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, also found that—when compared with simpler approaches—the more complex procedures were linked to a higher rate of serious surgical complications and health care costs.

Outward Knee Alignment Increases Arthritis Risk, Finds NIH-Funded Study: Existing Arthritis Worsens when Poorly Aligned Joints Bear Increased Stress
People with a particular kind of knee alignment have a greater chance of developing osteoarthritis than do those with other types of leg alignment, reported researchers supported by NIH.

Treatment for S. Aureus Skin Infection Works in Mouse Model
Scientists from NIH and the University of Chicago have found a promising treatment method that in laboratory mice reduces the severity of skin and soft-tissue damage caused by USA300, the leading cause of community-associated Staphylococcus aureus infections in the United States. By neutralizing a key toxin associated with the bacteria, they found they could greatly reduce the damaging effects of the infection on skin and soft tissue. Community strains of S. aureus cause infection in otherwise healthy people and are considered extremely virulent, as opposed to hospital strains that infect people who already are weakened by illness or surgery.

Discovery Opens Door to Therapeutic Development for FSH Muscular Dystrophy
Scientists are closer to understanding what triggers muscle damage in one of the most common forms of muscular dystrophy, called facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD).

NIH Seeks to Break New Ground in Reducing Health Disparities
NIH launched a multidisciplinary network of experts who will explore new approaches to understanding the origins of health disparities, or differences in the burden of disease among population groups. Using state-of-the-science conceptual and computational models, the network’s goal is to identify important areas where interventions or policy changes could have the greatest impact in eliminating health disparities. The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, part of NIH, is contracting with the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, to establish the Network on Inequality, Complexity and Health.

NIAID Seeks Volunteers for Study in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is seeking people 18 years of age and older to volunteer for research studies for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. These studies are being conducted throughout the United States. For more information, see


Pain and Musculoskeletal Disorders: Translating Scientific Advances into Practice
This conference will bring together internationally recognized experts in a broad range of domains in the pain field, as well as similarly esteemed faculty that represent both the rheumatology and pain fields.

When: December 14 to 15, 2010
Where: Natcher Auditorium; NIH Campus; Bethesda, Maryland

To register or for more information, call (toll-free) 1-800-800-0666.

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:

October 13, 2010
Dr. Richard Lenski
“Experimental Evolution: 50,000 Generations in the Life of E. coli”

October 20, 2010
Dr. Peter Sorger
“Measuring and Modeling Life-Death Decisions in Single Cells”

October 27, 2010
Dr. Shiv Grewal
“Epigenetic Genome Control by Heterochromatin and RNAi Machinery”


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.

Viruses Found in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients
New research supports the idea that viruses may play a role in chronic fatigue syndrome, a debilitating disease that affects millions of people nationwide.

Both Real and “Sham” Acupuncture Relieve Knee Pain
In a new study, researchers found that both traditional acupuncture and simulated acupuncture lessened the pain of knee osteoarthritis. Their evidence suggests that it may not be the acupuncture itself, but something about patients’ expectations and their interactions with acupuncturists, that helps reduce pain.

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.

New Publication

¿Qué son la polimialgia reumática y la arteritis de células gigantes? (What Are Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis?)
This fact sheet contains general information about polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis and explains how they are related. It discusses who is at risk and explains how these diseases are diagnosed and treated. Highlights of current research are also included.

Funding Announcements
NIH Roadmap Initiative Announcements

Advanced Technologies for Detection of Perturbation-Induced Cellular Signatures (U01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: January 22, 2011
Application Receipt Date: February 22, 2011

Computational Tool Development and Integrative Data Analysis for LINCS (U01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: January 22, 2011
Application Receipt Date: February 22, 2011

NIH-RAID Updates on Program Scope and Procedures: Biologics Manufacture, Lead Selection, and Product Development Plans

NIAMS Research Announcements

Ancillary Studies to Large Ongoing Clinical Projects (R01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: November 3, 2010; March 1, 2011
Application Receipt Dates: December 3, 2010; April 1, 2011

Ancillary Studies to Large Ongoing Clinical Projects (R21)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: November 3, 2010; March 1, 2011
Application Receipt Dates: December 3, 2010; April 1, 2011

Participation of NIAMS on PAR-10-266, Support of NIGMS Program Project Grants (P01)

Other Research Announcements

Basic Research on Self-Regulation (R21)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: December 6, 2010
Application Receipt Date: January 6, 2011

Scientific Meetings for Creating Interdisciplinary Research Teams in Basic Behavioral and Social Science Research (R13)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: November 14, 2010
Application Receipt Date: December 14, 2010

Outstanding Mentors are Eligible for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESEM)

NIH, AHRQ and NIOSH to Eliminate Error Correction Window for Due Dates On or After January 25, 2011

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Contract Solicitation (PHS 2011-1) Now Available

2011 NIH Regional Seminars on Program Funding and Grants Administration: Phoenix, AZ, & Fort Lauderdale, FL

Status of Applications and Awards Involving Human Embryonic Stem Cells, and Submissions of Stem Cell Lines for Eligibility Consideration

Clarification on the Roles of NIH Scientific Review Groups (SRG) and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) in Review of Vertebrate Animal Research

Clarification of Eligible Institutions for PA-10-050: Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH, CDC, FDA and ACF for Small Business Innovation Research Grant Applications (Parent SBIR [R43/R44])

NIH to Require all Applications to be Submitted in Response to a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Published in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts

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.