NIH Tools That Ensure Transparency and Accountability

Dear Colleagues: The NIAMS has a three-pronged mission: to support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis, musculoskeletal, and skin diseases; to train the next generations of researchers; and to disseminate information about research progress. We are held accountable for how we spend more than $500 million annually in taxpayer funds, and sharing that information is a critical component of our communications efforts. NIAMS and NIH have a variety of resources available to provide transparency on the projects and programs we support. First and foremost, the NIAMS website and our e-newsletters, such as the NIAMS Update , feature

Ion Channel Found to Play Role in Itch Sensation

Two independent teams of investigators funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) have discovered that a molecule called TRPV4 plays a role in sensing itch. The researchers found that TRPV4 responds to certain itch-inducing substances by sending a signal to the brain, where sensations are "felt." The findings, which were reported in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and the Journal of Biological Chemistry , suggest that targeting TRPV4 could be an effective strategy for treating certain skin conditions. Millions of Americans experience chronic itch stemming from conditions like psoriasis and eczema,

Maximizing the Value of NIH-funded Clinical Trials

Dear Colleagues: About six years ago, the NIAMS, as part of a larger NIH effort to revamp clinical research, reviewed our mechanisms and processes for funding clinical trials. As a result of that review, we instituted a number of new clinical trial policies and processes. Over the years, we’ve monitored the progress of those efforts to assess whether changes or additional measures are needed. This month’s letter focuses on new ways that the NIAMS and the NIH are enhancing support for clinical research. In 2010, the Institute took a number of steps to strengthen clinical trials, with a focus on

NIAMS Hosts First Local Lupus Consortium Meeting

The lupus clinical research team at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases recently welcomed lupus researchers and advocates from the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area to the Clinical Center for the inaugural meeting of the D.C. Lupus Consortium (DCLC). The purpose of the consortium is to foster collaborations between lupus researchers in the NIH Intramural Research Program and partners in the regional academic, private practice and patient advocacy communities. Attendees learned about NIAMS lupus protocols from the institute’s scientific director Dr. John O’Shea, clinical director Dr. Richard Siegel, senior investigator Dr. Mariana Kaplan and Dr. Sarfaraz Hasni,

NIAMS Awards Five New Supplements to Advance Research (STAR) to Support Early Stage Scientists: Program is Part of Broader NIH Efforts to Foster the Next Generation of Biomedical Researchers

Overview of the STAR Awards: In February 2015, NIAMS launched the Supplements to Advance Research, or STAR, awards program to provide additional support for early career-stage investigators. The Institute awarded the first three STAR awards in July 2015 . Supplemental funding provided by the STAR awards allows early-established investigators who have renewed their first NIAMS-funded R01 grant to pursue innovative and high-risk research within the broader scope of a current NIAMS-funded, peer-reviewed research project. The award also helps investigators to expand a single, structured research project into a broader multi-faceted research program. In July 2016, the NIAMS awarded STAR supplements

NIAMS Director Participates in Hill Visits with American Academy of Dermatology Association

On June 8, 2016, NIAMS director Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., participated in a series of meetings on Capitol Hill, at the invitation of the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA). Dr. Katz accompanied AADA’s current President, Abel Torres, J.D., M.D., to discuss the state of dermatological science supported by the NIAMS. Drs. Torres and Katz met with Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Representative Andy Harris (R-MD), as well as staff from the offices of Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Representative Tom Cole (R-OK). They discussed the impact of skin diseases in

New Collaborations in Social Media Outreach

Dear Colleagues: This year, the NIAMS social media team has initiated several efforts to reach new audiences by partnering with a number of governmental and nongovernmental organizations, especially with organizations that are part of the NIAMS Coalition . Social media provides us with new opportunities to collaborate with NIAMS Coalition members in areas of mutual interest. In addition to following and sharing the information that our Coalition partners post, we have worked with several of them on specific events. For example, in recognition of National Osteoporosis Month in May, we partnered with the National Osteoporosis Foundation and the National Bone

Bioengineers Develop Method to Enhance Growth of Blood Vessels

Using a combination of medicinal chemistry and biomaterials science, researchers have engineered a way to attract immune cells to a site of injury in mice and stimulate the formation of new blood vessels. The study, which was funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), suggests we might be able to leverage the body’s own responses for tissue repair and regeneration. The findings were published in Biomaterials . Inflammation is an important part of the immune response and one of the body’s first reactions to injury. It causes redness, swelling and pain,
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