NIAMS Update August 2013

An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleagues
August 15, 2013


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 Science Policy, Planning and Communications
Communications and Public Liaison Branch

Anita Linde, M.P.P.

Nancy Garrick, Ph.D.
Deputy Director—CPLB

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

Colleen Labbe, M.S.
Public Liaison


   Funding Announcements

Read More at NIAMS


Letter From Dr. Stephen I. Katz: The Effects of Sequestration on the NIH

Photo: Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D. Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.

Dear Colleagues:

In follow-up to last month’s letter about grant applications that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) receives and the peer review process through which they are evaluated, I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the NIAMS’ budget. Ultimately, the Institute’s budget dictates the number of outstanding grants that we can fund. Like the rest of the NIH, the NIAMS is operating under the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 (Public Law 113-6), as well as the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25 [PDF - 190 KB]). The mandatory budget cuts required by the Budget Control Act (which you may have heard referred to as “sequestration”) are having a real impact on the NIAMS, on investigators across the nation whose work relies on federal funds, and on patients and their families who are eagerly awaiting the next advances that will improve their lives.

Read more.


Dr. James Katz Dr. James Katz
Source: George Washington University

James Katz Named Director of the NIAMS Rheumatology Fellowship and Training Branch
The NIAMS has announced the appointment of James D. Katz, M.D., as the Director of the Rheumatology Fellowship and Training Branch in the intramural research program. In this role, Katz will oversee the agency’s Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program. He will also serve as the Director of the intramural NIAMS Community Research and Care Branch.

NIAMS FY 2014 Budget Request: Statement to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittees
This statement for the record to the Senate Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations presents the President’s Budget request for the NIAMS. The fiscal year (FY) 2014 NIAMS budget of $540,993,000 includes an increase of $6,202,000 over the comparable FY 2012 level of $534,791,000.

Novel Drug Delivery System Shows Early Promise for Treating Lupus in Mice
A drug delivery system using nanoparticle technology that allows for better targeting of specific immune cells can potentially improve treatment approaches for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), according to research partially funded by the NIH’s NIAMS. The study was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Meniscus Reproduced with permission from Orthoinfo. © American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Physical Therapy to Treat Torn Meniscus Comparable to Surgery for Many Patients
Many people with knee osteoarthritis (OA) and a meniscal tear may be able to avoid surgery and achieve comparable relief from physical therapy, according to a recent, multisite study funded by the NIH’s NIAMS, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

NIAMS To Host Upcoming Twitter Chat on PROMIS®
The NIAMS (@NIH_NIAMS) will host its first Twitter Chat on September 19, 2013, from 1–2 p.m., to discuss the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS), an initiative supported by the NIAMS and other NIH Institutes through the NIH Common Fund. PROMIS® experts will be on hand to answer your questions. PROMIS® is a system of highly reliable, precise measures of patient-reported health statuses for physical, mental and social well-being. PROMIS® tools can accurately measure what patients are able to do and how they feel when asking questions. More information is to come.

Cultured HeLa cells Cultured HeLa cells stained to illustrate the Golgi apparatus, the microtubules and DNA. Credit: National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, Tom Deerinck.

NIH, Lacks Family Reach Understanding to Share Genomic Data of HeLa Cells
The NIH recently announced in Nature that it has reached an understanding with the family of the late Henrietta Lacks to allow biomedical researchers controlled access to the whole genome data of cells derived from her tumor, commonly known as HeLa cells. These cells have already been used extensively in scientific research and have helped make possible some of the most important medical advances of the past 60 years. These include the development of modern vaccines, cancer treatments, in vitro fertilization techniques, and many others. HeLa cells are the most widely used human cell lines in existence today. Access to the whole genome data of these cells will be a valuable reference tool for researchers using HeLa cells in their research.

Therapy for Severe Vasculitis Shows Long-Term Effectiveness: NIH-Funded Study Finds That Rituximab Is as Effective as Standard Therapy, Requires Shorter Treatment Duration
Administering the drug rituximab once weekly for one month provides the same benefits as 18 months of daily immunosuppressive therapy in people with severe forms of vasculitis, or inflammation of the blood vessels, a study has found.

Battery operated therapeutic ultrasound Battery operated therapeutic ultrasound to heal venous ulcers. Image courtesy of Drexel University.

Ultrasound Patch Heals Venous Ulcers in Human Trial: NIH-Funded Study Finds New Technique Could Significantly Accelerate Tissue Repair, Reduce Costs for Chronic Wound Management
In a small clinical study, researchers administered a new method for treating chronic wounds using a novel ultrasound applicator that can be worn like a band-aid. The applicator delivers low-frequency, low-intensity ultrasound directly to wounds, and was found to significantly accelerate healing in five patients with venous ulcers. Venous ulcers are caused when valves in the veins malfunction, causing blood to pool in the leg instead of returning to the heart. This pooling, called venous stasis, can cause proteins and cells in the vein to leak into the surrounding tissue leading to inflammation and formation of an ulcer.

NIH Commits $24 Million Annually for Big Data Centers of Excellence: Efforts Will Harness Power of Complex Datasets To Improve Health, Aid Discovery, Reduce Duplication
The NIH will fund up to $24 million per year for four years to establish six to eight investigator-initiated Big Data to Knowledge Centers of Excellence. The centers will improve the ability of the research community to use increasingly large and complex datasets through the development and distribution of innovative approaches, methods, software and tools for data sharing, integration, analysis and management. The centers will also provide training for students and researchers to use and develop data science methods.

Dr. Jeremy Brown Dr. Jeremy Brown, director of NIH Office of Emergency Care Research

Dr. Jeremy Brown To Direct NIH Office of Emergency Care Research
The NIH has selected Jeremy Brown, M.D., to be the first permanent director of its Office of Emergency Care Research (OECR).

NIH, PCORI Seek Applications for Falls Prevention Clinical Trial: Research To Focus on Methods To Prevent Serious Injuries in Older People
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is seeking applications from researchers for a clinical trial to prevent serious injuries resulting from falls in older people. The request, part of an initiative by the new Falls Injuries Prevention Partnership between NIA and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), represents a unique collaboration joining scientists with clinicians and patients in pursuit of an effective strategy. PCORI will commit up to $30 million to the effort, and NIA will administer the project, including the application process and peer review.

Pumpkin the chimpanzee Pumpkin is a chimpanzee at the Alamogordo Primate Facility, a reserve where no research is conducted.

NIH To Reduce Significantly the Use of Chimpanzees in Research
The NIH plans to substantially reduce the use of chimpanzees in NIH-funded biomedical research and designate for retirement most of the chimpanzees it currently owns or supports. NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., accepted most of the recommendations made by an independent advisory council for implementing a set of principles and criteria defined by the Institute of Medicine for the use of chimpanzees in NIH-funded research.

Only Half of U.S. Youth Meet Physical Activity Standards, NIH Study Shows
Only about half of U.S. adolescents are physically active five or more days of the week, and fewer than one in three eat fruits and vegetables daily, according to researchers at the NIH.

woman doing yoga © Photodisc

Weekly and Twice-Weekly Yoga Classes Offer Similar Low-Back Pain Relief in Low-Income Minority Populations
Results of a National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine-funded study found that once-weekly yoga classes relieved pain, improved function and reduced the need for pain medication just as well as twice-weekly classes in minority and low-income populations with chronic low-back pain. Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Public Health, Group Health Research Institute and the University of Washington published their findings in the online journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Individual Development Plans for NIH-supported Trainees
The NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER) continues to make progress on implementing the recommendations proposed by the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) working group, which studied the biomedical research workforce. The NIH has just posted a Notice in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts announcing that the NIH encourages grantees to develop an institutional policy requiring an Individual Development Plan (IDP) for every graduate student and postdoctoral researcher supported by any NIH grant, regardless of the type of NIH grant that is used for support. The NIH encourages grantee institutions to describe the use of the IDP in the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) for all projects reporting graduate student and/or postdoctoral researchers. Instructions for reporting IDPs in the RPPR will be available on October 18, 2013.

NIH Director’s Blog

Strengthening Clinical/Translational Research in the U.S.
At the NIH, our job—in a nutshell—is to turn discoveries into health. Even if you’ve only read this blog a few times, you know we conduct and support basic science advances, clinical breakthroughs—and everything between. We call that “between” process, “translation.” And it takes sustained creativity, innovation, attention—and collaboration—to do it well. In this blog, Dr. Collins discusses the recent Institute of Medicine Report on the NIH’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards program.

host bone growing in cavity of implant Photo of the host bone (red and blue) growing in a cavity of the implant (brown and silver). A new coating on the implant encourages this stable bond.
Credit: The Hammond Research Group, David H. Koch Institute of Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Promoting the Long-Term Marriage of Bone and Implant
Hip, knee, and shoulder joints get worn over time, or damaged by disease or injury. They often require replacement because they cause pain and inhibit movement. Orthopedic surgeons perform more than 1 million joint replacements each year. The worn bone is replaced with plastic or metal implants and cemented in place. The surgery can provide immense relief and restore mobility. But sometimes, these implants don’t integrate well with the bone, and ultimately they break free. Replacement surgeries are costly, increase the risk of infection and are a major challenge for the patient to endure. But recently, an NIH-funded team of chemical engineers at MIT developed a special coating for implants that promotes a stronger connection to new bone.

abstract vector

Transforming Big Data Into Big Knowledge
As technology allows us to tackle mind-boggling tasks like sequencing an entire human genome (or 10) in a few hours, or recording thousands of neurons chattering in the brain, or imaging an entire organ or body in super high-resolution, we are generating enormous quantities of data—think tera, peta- and even exa-bytes. The challenge presented by this revolution is the need to develop and implement hardware and software that can store, retrieve and analyze this mountain of complex data—and transform it into knowledge that can improve our understanding of human health and disease.

Other Federal News

FDA Reminds Consumers To Always Use Acetaminophen Safely
On several occasions, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked its expert advisory committees for advice about acetaminophen, which is used to treat pain and fever. Based on this advice and extensive review of the available scientific evidence, the FDA continues to believe that acetaminophen’s benefits outweigh its risks. With that said, however, no medicine is without any risk, and that includes acetaminophen.


Save the Date: NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting
The next NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held September 10, 2013, in Building 31, 6th Floor, C Wing, Conference Room 6, NIH Campus. An agenda of the meeting will be posted as soon as it is available.

NIAMS Advisory Council

NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series
The NIH’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series 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:

NIH Science Lectures and Events Available via Internet
The NIH hosts a number of science seminars and events that are available online through real-time streaming video. You can watch an event at your convenience as an on-demand video or a downloadable podcast. Most events are available to all; a few are broadcast for the NIH or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and are marked as such. See additional details on events.

The NIAMS Exhibit The NIAMS Exhibit

NIAMS Exhibit Schedule
The NIAMS exhibit is traveling to several events. See the schedule of health fairs and exhibits.


Frequently Asked Questions Fact Sheet Available for Career Awards in Tobacco Control Funding Opportunities [PDF - 674 KB]
The Tobacco Regulatory Science Program coordinates the trans-NIH collaborative effort with the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products to conduct research to support regulation of tobacco products. The Office of Disease Prevention directs this effort on behalf of the NIH. View a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) [PDF - 674 KB] for these new funding opportunities.

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 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 its grantees at universities and medical schools around the country.

Funding Announcements

NIAMS Announcements

Centers of Excellence for Big Data Computing in the Biomedical Sciences (U54)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: October 20, 2013
Application Receipt Date: November 20, 2013

NLM Administrative Supplements for Informationist Services in NIH-funded Research Projects (Administrative Supplement)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Date: November 5, 2013

Notice of Change to Earliest Start Date for Applications Submitted to RFA-DA-14-002 Short-term Mentored Career Enhancement Awards in the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences: Cross-Training at the Intersection of Animal Models and Human Investigation (K18)

Other Funding Announcements

NIH Transformative Research Awards (R01)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: September 4, 2013
Application Receipt Date: October 4, 2013

Opportunity to Submit Proposals for the Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases (TRND) Program

Limited Competition: Extramural Research Facilities Restoration Program: Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief (C06)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Date: August 30, 2013

Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award in Tobacco Control Regulatory Research (K08)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: September 2, 2013
Application Receipt Date: October 2, 2013

Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award in Tobacco Control Regulatory Research (K01)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: September 2, 2013
Application Receipt Date: October 2, 2013

Transition Career Development Award in Tobacco Control Regulatory Research (K22)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: September 2, 2013
Application Receipt Date: October 2, 2013

Pathway to Independence Award in Tobacco Control Regulatory Research (K99/R00)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: September 2, 2013
Application Receipt Date: October 2, 2013

Request for Information (RFI): Inviting Comments and Suggestions on the Health and Health Research Needs, Specific Health Issues and Concerns for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Populations

Announcement of Agency Decision: Recommendations on the Use of Chimpanzees in NIH-Supported Research

NIH Anticipates Transition to Payment Management System Subaccounts in FY2014

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for RFA-OD-13-009 “Short Courses on Innovative Methodologies in the Behavioral and Social Sciences (R25)”

Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers (LRP-CR)

Extramural Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers from Disadvantaged Backgrounds (LRP-IDB)

Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Pediatric Research (LRP-PR)

Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Contraception and Infertility Research (LRP-CIR)

Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Health Disparities Research (LRP-HDR)

Registration Now Open for the 15th Annual NIH SBIR/STTR Conference, October 28–30, 2013, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Notice Announcing Pre-Application Webinar and FAQ Page for Career Awards in Tobacco Control Regulatory Research (K08, K01, K22 & K99/R00)

Public Comments on Implementation of the Updated AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition

NIH Encourages Institutions to Develop Individual Development Plans for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Researchers

AHRQ Announces Interest in Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Mentored Career Development Grants Focused on Methodologies and Research in Translation, Implementation and Diffusion of Research Into Practice and Policy

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.