Letter from Dr. Stephen I. Katz: Opportunities for Collaborative Research at the NIH Clinical Center
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, is the nation’s largest hospital devoted entirely to clinical research. Surrounded by the NIH’s intramural research laboratories, the Clinical Center makes it possible to rapidly translate scientific observations and discoveries into new approaches for diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease. Now, this unique national resource is being made more accessible to researchers in the extramural community.
Image: Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
As part of ongoing efforts to move promising laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, the NIAMS has funded two new Centers of Research Translation (CORTs) and continued its support for two existing Centers. Each CORT addresses one disease within the NIAMS mission with a multidisciplinary approach. A minimum of three highly meritorious translational research projects, as well as an administrative core, form the basic elements of the CORT.
University of Pennsylvania researchers supported by the NIAMS and other organizations have built a strong case that male pattern baldness—the most common cause of hair loss in men—results from elevated amounts of a lipid called prostaglandin D2 (PGD2). Identifying this potential culprit and its actions, say the scientists, points toward a potential new therapeutic target for the condition.
A dramatic upsurge in the number of total knee replacement (TKR) surgeries in the United States is attributable to more than increases in obesity and population size alone, according to researchers at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Their recent study of 1999–2008 data shows a doubling of surgeries performed in that decade, an increase disproportionate to those in obesity and population growth. Other factors at work—particularly in younger TKR patients—may include changes in the onset and progression of knee osteoarthritis, changes in indicators for surgery, and an increase in knee injuries, say the scientists.
Christopher P. Austin, M.D., will serve as director of the NIH’s newest Center, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., made the announcement at the inaugural meetings of the NCATS Advisory Council and Cures Acceleration Network Review Board.
Researchers have launched a clinical trial to evaluate the drug candidate DEX-M74 as a treatment for a rare degenerative muscle disease, hereditary inclusion body myopathy. NIH scientists from NCATS and the National Human Genome Research Institute will conduct the clinical trial at the NIH Clinical Center.
Scientists may have discovered why a protein called MYC can provoke a variety of cancers. Like many proteins associated with cancer, MYC helps regulate cell growth. A study carried out by researchers at the NIH and colleagues found that, unlike many other cell growth regulators, MYC does not turn genes on or off, but instead boosts the expression of genes that are already turned on.
Fourteen exceptional junior scientists, who were within 1 year of completing their doctoral degrees or clinical residencies at the time of application, will be supported by the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award. This program encourages young scientists who have demonstrated outstanding scientific creativity, intellectual maturity, and leadership skills with the opportunity to conduct independent biomedical or behavioral research by skipping the conventional postdoctoral training period. The NIH Common Fund and contributing NIH Institutes plan to commit potentially $25.9 million to support these research projects over 5 years, contingent on the availability of funds.
NIH Continues Its Commitment to High Risk-High Reward Research: Eighty-One Awards To Support Innovation
Eighty-one awards are being given to pursue visionary science that exhibits the potential to transform scientific fields and speed the translation of research into improved health, under the High Risk-High Reward program supported by the NIH Common Fund.
NIH Announces New Program in Metabolomics: Awards Given To Support Research Centers in an Emerging Field of Research
The NIH will invest $14.3 million this year, potentially investing more than $51.4 million over 5 years, to accelerate an emerging field of biomedical research known as metabolomics. Metabolomics is the study of small molecules called metabolites, found within cells and biological systems. Metabolites are produced or consumed in the chemical reactions that take place in the body to sustain life. The awards are supported by the NIH Common Fund.
Funds, totaling approximately $11.3 million, will support the first year of the Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory, which will engage health care systems as research partners in conducting large-scale clinical studies. The funds are managed through the Common Fund at the NIH.
On Saturday, September 8, 2012, NIH hosted a day of compelling presentations and “live remotes” as part of a 3-day “Celebration of Science,” in collaboration with FasterCures, the Milken Institute’s Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions. The NIH day featured scientists, patients, and caregivers speaking on topics such as HIV/AIDS, precision medicine, protein folding, neuroscience, and rehabilitation medicine. View video highlights of the event.
Six projects have been awarded funding to develop robots that can interact and work cooperatively with people and respond to changing environments in a variety of health care applications, the NIH, collaborating with three other federal agencies, announced last week. The total amount for these projects over the next 4 years amounts to $4.4 million, subject to the availability of funds.
NIH Introduces Bilingual Booklet on Sports Injuries: Fotonovela Teaches Young Athletes About Prevention
An English and Spanish fotonovela to teach children and teens how to avoid sports injuries, Ana’s Story, is now available through the NIAMS. A fotonovela uses a comic-book style format to engage readers and deliver important health messages.
NIH Research Matters is a review of NIH research from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, NIH.
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.
Millions of people in the United States roll out their mats to practice yoga. They work on physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation or relaxation techniques. Scientists, meanwhile, are studying how this mind and body therapy can affect health and well-being.
Rheumatology Training and Career Development Roundtable Discussion Summary
The NIAMS met with the American College of Rheumatology/Research and Education Foundation (ACR REF), and the Arthritis Foundation (AF), which are committed to ensuring that a diverse and highly skilled workforce is available to assume leadership roles related to biomedical and behavioral research in rheumatic diseases. The goal of the meeting, which took place on May 15, was to evaluate whether the funding mechanisms that the NIH, ACR REF, and AF are using to support junior investigators are successful in fostering the development of productive independent rheumatology researchers. While the meeting took place earlier in the year, the summary was just recently posted for the public.
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.
October 31, 2012
Jeffrey Esko, University of California at San Diego
“Heparan Sulfate: Light at the End of the Chain”
The NIAMS exhibit is traveling to several events. See the schedule of health fairs and exhibits.
Image: The NIAMS Exhibit
NIH Common Fund Initiative Announcements
Other Funding Announcements
Basic Social and Behavioral Research on Culture, Health, and Well-Being (R24)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: November 16, 2012
Application Receipt Date: December 17, 2012
Exploratory/Developmental Bioengineering Research Grants (EBRG) [R21]
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Multiple dates, see announcement.
Standard dates apply
Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Exploratory/Developmental Projects in Translational Research (R21)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: December 31, 2012, 2013, 2014
Application Receipt Dates: January 30, 2013, 2014, 2015
Revision of the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules (NIH Guidelines) To Include Synthetic Nucleic Acids and To Clarify Criteria for Section III-A-1-a Experiments
Revised Pre- and Post-Award Forms and Instructions Available
Review of Grants Information for Fiscal Year 2012