NIAMS Update January 2011

NIAMS - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Update - An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleague
January 20, 2011
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

The NIAMS Tweets!
The NIAMS has launched @NIH_NIAMS on Twitter, the popular microblogging site, as a companion to the Institute's website. The NIAMS will use its presence on Twitter to announce new publications, stories, resources, research advances and other news of the Institute. "Twitter will enhance our information dissemination efforts about the progress being made through the Government's research investment related to bones, joints, muscles and skin," said NIAMS Director, Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D. "It will allow us to spread the word quickly when we have new information to share with our partners and the public."

To follow @NIH_NIAMS on Twitter, click on the "Find People" link on your Twitter home page. Enter "NIAMS" in the search field and then click on the "follow" icon for @NIH_NIAMS.

NIAMS - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

photo of Dr. Lubov Timchenko Dr. Lubov Timchenko
ARRA Helps Further Muscular Dystrophy Research
A grant funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is allowing Lubov Timchenko, Ph.D., of Houston's Baylor College of Medicine, to better understand the mechanisms of myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), an inherited multisystem neuromuscular disease whose symptoms include muscle wasting, cataracts and heart problems. Dr. Timchenko credits the financial assistance of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) with helping her work to progress.

photo of Dr. Jane A. Cauley Dr. Jane A. Cauley
Bone Marrow Fat: A Role in Osteoporosis?
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh are exploring a potential connection between osteoporosis and bone marrow fat (BMF), which has been found in higher than normal levels in people who have the bone disorder. ARRA funds, administered through the NIAMS, are being used to better understand BMF's possible role as a cause or consequence of the condition, which results in weakened bones and related fractures in an estimated 44 million Americans.

photo of Dr. William Robinson Dr. William Robinson
ARRA-Funded Scientists Put RA Diagnosis, Therapy in Research Sights
People with the common autoimmune joint disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), have benefited significantly in recent years from drugs called biologics, especially those from a group known as anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) agents. But despite these drugs' success, says William Robinson, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University's School of Medicine and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, approximately one-third of RA patients show no improvement with the therapy. Using ARRA funds, assisted by the NIAMS, Dr. Robinson and his team have embarked on a project to develop tests that will help diagnose RA earlier—a factor that has been linked to a better disease outcome—and identify those RA patients who would benefit most from anti-TNF drugs.

Roundtable Discussions
In 2010, the NIAMS hosted four roundtables as part of the Institute's continued commitment to engage the research and lay communities in discussions related to current scientific opportunities, challenges and future directions. Information obtained from the roundtables helps to inform the Institute's planning process, as well as its approach for advancing research across its basic, translational and clinical portfolios.

Mouse Model Points to Potential Therapy for Skin Disease PXE
Scientists at Philadelphia's Jefferson Medical College have found that restoring the normal blood concentration of an anti-mineralization protein in a mouse model of the skin disease pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) reduces the abnormal deposit of minerals that characterizes the condition. The work, supported by the NIAMS, suggests that the protein fetuin-A (a known anti-mineralization protein) could be a therapeutic target in PXE.

Change in B Cell Protein Production Drives Bone Loss in HIV
Researchers supported by the NIAMS and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have discovered how the HIV virus causes bone loss in rats by altering the balance of key proteins that affect the bone renewal process. Their findings were published in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

photo of speakers and moderators at the 2010 NIH AI/AN Workshop Speakers and moderators at the 2010 NIH AI/AN Workshop. From left: Wilbur Woodis, OASH; Leo Nolan, IHS; Susan Anderson, IHS; Thomas Sweeney, IHS; Mimi Lising, NIAMS; Ben Smith, IHS; Marin Allen, OD/OCPL. Not pictured: Mose Herne, IHS.
The NIH Hosts the 5th Annual American Indian/Alaska Native Workshop
The trans-NIH American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Health Communications and Information Work Group recently hosted a half-day workshop for NIH communications staff on "Creating Connections: Building Partnerships between the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the NIH." This event brought together IHS and NIH staff to foster an environment for collaboration and networking between the agencies. Further, the workshop opened lines of communication and helped participants.

The NIH to Offer New Clinical Research Opportunity: Initiative to Partner with Lasker Foundation
The NIH has launched a new program in conjunction with the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation that will provide medical doctors with funding for patient-focused, clinical research projects. The goal is to bridge the widening gap between cutting-edge research and improved patient care. The initiative, called the Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program, enables exceptional clinical researchers in the early stages of their careers to first spend 5 to 7 years at the NIH Clinical Center, the world's largest hospital dedicated to patient-oriented research, in Bethesda, Maryland.

For more information, see the grant announcement.

Other Federal News
AHRQ: Navigating the Health Care System: Your Options for Treating Rotator Cuff Tears
It's a fact of life: as we get older, we're more likely to get hurt when we exercise or take on certain everyday tasks. Routine activities like playing tennis or placing items on shelves can result in a common problem—the rotator cuff injury.

Tears in the rotator cuff are not a huge health setback. But they can limit movement and cause serious pain. There are several ways to treat rotator cuff tears, including surgery and non-surgical treatments. You'll want to understand your options before you make a decision.

To help you, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), offers a guide called Treatment Options for Rotator Cuff Tears. It explains in plain language how this common, age-related injury is treated and the pros and cons of ways to treat it.

Meetings and Events
2011 International Human Microbiome Congress
Meet scientists from the medical, microbial and computational fields, and learn about cutting-edge microbiome research from global leaders.
March 9 to 11, 2011
Vancouver, British Columbia

Obtain more information and register.

Save the Date: The NIAMS Advisory Council
The next NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held February 1, 2011, in Building 31, 6th floor, C Wing, Conference Room 6, NIH Campus.

The NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series
The 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 presentations, open to the public and available live via Webcast

Upcoming lectures:

February 9, 2011
Dr. Barbara Meyer
“Creating Intimacy: Chromosomal Connections for Gene Expression and Crossovers”

February 23, 2011
Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia
“It’s a Small World: ’Tiny Technologies‘ and Regenerative Medicine”

The Fall/Winter 2010 issue of NIAMS IRPartners is now available. This issue highlights: Juan Rivera, Ph.D., M.Sc., the new NIAMS Deputy Scientific Director; three new clinical fellows in the Rheumatology Fellowship Program; the 2010 NIAMS summer interns; the new website for the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center; the scientific conference on lupus, held in September 2010; and the NIAMS partnership with the SEED School of Washington, DC, one of the NIAMS' many outreach programs.

IRPartners is a biannual newsletter for patients of the NIAMS Intramural Research Program (IRP).

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 the 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 the NIH's medical experts and is based on research conducted either by the NIH's own scientists or by our grantees at universities and medical schools around the country.

New Publication

Questions and Answers About Ankylosing Spondylitis
This booklet contains general information about ankylosing spondylitis. It describes what ankylosing spondylitis is, who gets it and how it is diagnosed. The booklet also discusses medications, diet and exercise, surgery and what you can do to help yourself if you have ankylosing spondylitis. Highlights of current research and a list of keywords are also included.

Funding Announcements

NIAMS Research Announcements

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Postdoctoral Fellowships in Muscular Dystrophy Research (F32)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Multiple dates, see announcement
Standard dates apply

Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award in Muscular Dystrophy Research (K23)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Multiple dates, see announcement
Standard dates apply

Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award in Muscular Dystrophy Research (K08)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Multiple dates, see announcement
Standard dates apply

NIH Pathway to Independence Award in Muscular Dystrophy Research (K99/R00)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Submission Dates: Multiple dates, see announcement
Standard dates apply

Other Research Announcements

Chronic Illness Self-Management in Children and Adolescents (R01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Multiple dates, see announcement
Standard dates apply

Chronic Illness Self-Management in Children and Adolescents (R21)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Multiple dates, see announcement
Standard dates apply

Implementation of Federal Financial Report—Upcoming Mandatory Use of the Federal Financial Report System in the eRA Commons Beginning February 1, 2011

Correction: Reminder of Policies Affecting Submission of NIH Grant Applications for Due Dates on or after January 25, 2011

Notice of Availability of Revised Data Tables for Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Training Grant Applications

Notice to Highlight Applicability of Current NIH Funding Opportunity on Methodology and Measurement for Multiple Chronic Health Conditions

Reminder: Beginning January 1, 2011, the NIH Will Require Use of xTrain for the Electronic Submission of Appointment Forms and/or Termination Notices for Institutional Research Training and Career Awards, Individual Fellowships and Research Education Awards

New Page Limits for NIH Individual Career Development (K) Award Applications: Due Dates After January 7, 2011

Pre-Solicitation Announcement: The Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program

Modification of Eligibility Criteria for PAR-10-065, Independent Scientist in Global Health Award (ISGHA) (K02)

Modification of Eligibility Criteria for PAR-10-066, International Research Scientist Development Award (IRSDA) (K01)

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.