Letter From Dr. Stephen I. Katz: The NIAMS Coalition–Partners in Advancing Biomedical Research and Training
As you well know, almost every household in America is affected in some way by diseases of the bones, joints, muscles and skin, which are under the purview of the NIAMS mission. These conditions change the lives of people of all ages, racial and ethnic populations, and economic strata, and are often chronic in nature.
We cannot connect the research breakthroughs with the people they benefit on our own. That is why we partner with groups such as the NIAMS Coalition. The Coalition is a consortium of more than 70 professional and voluntary organizations concerned with the Institute's programs.
Image: Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
Following a nationwide search, the NIAMS has announced the appointment of Richard Siegel, M.D., Ph.D., as the Institute’s Clinical Director. In this role, Dr. Siegel will oversee clinical and translational research within the NIAMS Intramural Research Program, and supervise the clinical staff assigned to NIAMS investigators performing clinical and translational research, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program and the NIAMS Community Health Center.
Paylines have increased for certain mechanisms in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Funding Plan.
In addition, the NIAMS has posted the Funding Patterns for FY 2011 and FY 2010.
The decision to fund or not to fund a particular application is based on the assessment of scientific merit by a peer review group and on the relevance of the proposed work to the Institute’s scientific and health priorities. Peer reviewers’ judgments of scientific merit are expressed in “priority scores” and in percentile rankings derived from these priority scores. At any point in a given fiscal year, budgetary projections are based on awarding funds to all applications with rankings better than a certain percentile, sometimes referred to as the “payline.” However, applications that address subjects of particular relevance to the Institute’s scientific and health priorities may be considered for awards even if their assigned scores and percentile rankings would not qualify for funding under the current payline. Normally, a small portion of each year’s budget is reserved for such “discretionary” or “select pay” awards. Projects to be funded on this basis are selected by the NIAMS Director, following staff discussion.
Analysis of the hundreds of genes regulated by the DUX4 transcription factor reveals a new understanding of the pathology of facioscapulohumeral dystrophy and may lead to tools that accelerate the development of therapies, according to a new study supported by the NIAMS. The study’s authors, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and other institutions, believe that the results of their research might lead to novel treatment strategies for this inherited disease, which involves progressive weakness and wasting of face, shoulder and upper arm muscles. The work was reported in Developmental Cell.
Scientists long considered osteoarthritis (OA) a disease of wear and tear. Use the joints long enough, they reasoned, and they are bound to wear out. But research in recent years has suggested that inflammation plays a role in OA, a disease in which joint cartilage breaks down, leaving bone rubbing against bone. A new study, supported in part by the NIAMS, helps confirm that role and points to new targets for treatment, and perhaps prevention, of this common joint disease.
As earlier diagnosis and improved therapies have greatly increased the life expectancy associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), people with lupus now must face a longer-term problem: an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Scientists supported by the NIAMS have described in a recent issue of Gene Therapy how a gene-silencing process called RNA interference (RNAi) restored normal cell signaling in the cells of people with the bone disorder fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). These findings, from cell culture experiments, are the first proof of principle that RNAi has potential as a therapy for FOP.
How often a woman should have bone mineral density (BMD) tests to track bone mass is strongly dependent on the BMD level found in her first measurement, according to new research supported by the NIAMS, the National Institute on Aging and the former National Center for Research Resources. Data from the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures, a long-term investigation of women age 67 or older, indicate that women with low initial BMD levels should receive BMD testing more often than those with normal or slightly low bone mass at first measurement. The research appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.
NIH Selects 11 Centers of Excellence in Pain Education: NIH Pain Consortium Partners With Selected Health Professional Schools
The NIH Pain Consortium has selected 11 health professional schools as designated Centers of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPEs). The CoEPEs will act as hubs for the development, evaluation and distribution of pain management curriculum resources for medical, dental, nursing and pharmacy schools to enhance and improve how health care professionals are taught about pain and its treatment. Twenty institutes, centers and offices at the NIH are involved in the consortium.
The NIH has selected a talented pool of 45 medical, dental and veterinary students representing 34 different U.S.-accredited universities for its inaugural class of the Medical Research Scholars Program.
HHS Launches New Web-Based Tool To Track Performance of Nation’s Health Care System: Public Can View Data by Age, Income Level, Ethnicity and Other Factors
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the launch of a new web-based tool that will make it easier for all Americans to monitor and measure how the nation’s health care system is performing.
LikeThis is a new search tool from the Electronic Research Administration (eRA) to aid Principal Investigators in finding and learning about other research projects that have goals and objectives similar to their own. By entering specific scientific terms or accessing their own grant applications or grants and clicking on “LikeThis,” investigators will receive a listing of similar funded projects or publications.
When adults are advised by their health care professional to use a medication, they expect to receive information—backed up by data from studies—on the correct and safe dose to take. For drugs used in children, this information may not be available because historically not all products are studied in children.
Treatment To Prevent Fractures in Men and Women With Low Bone Density or Osteoporosis: Update of a 2007 Report
This new osteoporosis research review and resource for clinicians and patients includes new information on effectiveness and adverse events on recently approved medications to treat and prevent osteoporosis.
National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief: Osteoporosis or Low Bone Mass at the Femur Neck or Lumbar Spine in Older Adults: United States, 2005–2008
This data brief presents the most recent national data on osteoporosis or low bone mass at either the femur neck or lumbar spine among older adults in the United States. Results are presented by age, sex, and race and ethnicity.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) found significant evidence that exercise or physical therapy can help to prevent falls in older adults and determined that vitamin D supplementation has no benefit in preventing falls. In conjunction with these findings, the USPSTF did not find enough evidence of benefit to recommend that clinicians automatically perform an in-depth exam to assess risk for falls and comprehensive management of identified risks in all older adult patients. The final recommendation and the evidence it is based on is available on the USPSTF website.
NIAMS Shorttakes is a compilation of news from the Institute that is published three times a year in conjunction with NIAMS Advisory Council meetings. Just scan these “shorttakes” for information on what’s happening at the NIAMS, or access the complete articles for viewing or use in your own newsletter or other publication.
NIH Research Matters is a review of NIH research from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, NIH.
Paralyzed patients were able to reach and grasp objects by controlling a robotic arm with their thoughts, a new study reports. This advance may help restore some independence and improve quality of life for people who've lost the use of their limbs.
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Save the Date: Summit on the Science of Eliminating Health Disparities
Integrating Science, Policy and Practice
Building a Healthier Society
October 31–November 3, 2012
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
National Harbor, Maryland
Multiplex Assay Development for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (SBIR [R43/R44])
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply
NIH Common Fund Initiative Announcements
Other Funding Announcements
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute released its first research funding announcements to support comparative clinical effectiveness research based on the PCORI’s National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda.
The funding opportunities are in four research areas:
- Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment Options (PDF—702 KB)
- Improving Health Care Systems (PDF—694 KB)
- Communication and Dissemination (PDF—688 KB)
- Addressing Disparities (PDF—690 KB)
Please see the PCORI application guidelines (PDF—1 MB) for application information, and note the following dates:
- Letters of Intent Receipt Date: June 15, 2012
- Application Receipt Date: July 31, 2012
- Awards Announced: December 31, 2012
- Earliest Start Date: January 13, 2013
Research Education Program for Laboratory Animal Medicine Veterinarians (R25)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable
Application Receipt Date: July 18, 2012
Notice of Change in Participation of NIH Institutes and Centers in PAS-12-165 (U24), PAS-12-166 (U01), PAS-12-168 (U10) and PA-12-169 (U54) Limited Competition: Revision Applications To Advance Evidence-Based Research Related to Protections for Human Subjects