Prevention has been an important part of the mission of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1798, when the NIH began as the Marine Hospital Service established to screen crew members and passengers arriving in the United States to prevent epidemics of yellow fever and cholera. Prevention stands today as one of three primary targets in the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for 2016-20, along with research in fundamental science and on treatments and cures.
Image: David M. Murray, Ph.D., Director, NIH Office of Disease Prevention.
NIH Awards $15 Million To Support Development of 3-D Human Tissue Models To Test Drugs Before Clinical Trials
“Tissue chips” support living cells and human tissues to mimic the complex biological functions of human organs and systems, and provide a new way to test potential drug efficacy. The NIAMS is a partner in supporting three of the 13 recently announced Tissue Chip for Disease Modeling and Efficacy Testing awards.
Image: This lung-on-a-chip serves as an accurate model of human lungs to test for drug safety and efficacy.
Photo credit: Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University.
NIH’s Certificates of Confidentiality Policy Enhances Confidentiality of Participants Enrolled in Clinical Research Studies
The NIH announced an updated Certificate of Confidentiality (CoC) policy (NOT-OD-17-109), which went into effect on October 1, 2017. The new policy both enhances the privacy protections of individuals participating in NIH-funded research studies and eliminates the need for NIH-funded investigators to apply for a CoC.
In August 2017, the NIH released some case studies and FAQs to help clarify for the research community whether their human subjects research study meets the NIH definition of a clinical trial. Follow-on questions and suggestions from the community helped the NIH refine both the FAQs and the case studies.
The NIH awarded four grants to establish a coordinated scientific research effort on myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). The grants will be managed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) with support from the NIAMS and other NIH Institutes and Centers that are part of the Trans-NIH ME/CFS Working Group.
Image: Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a B cell from a human donor.
Photo credit: NIAID.
A study funded in part by the NIAMS revealed that lipocalin 2, a hormone produced by bones, suppresses appetite and weight gain in mice. The findings underscore the diversity of roles played by the skeleton in the body and its importance in controlling energy metabolism. The results may lead to new approaches for treating obesity, diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
Image: Lipocalin 2, a hormone triggered by feeding and produced by osteoblasts, acts on neurons in the hypothalamus to curb appetite and reduce food intake.
Photo credit: Stavroula Kousteni, Ph.D., Columbia University Medical Center.
Among people with osteoarthritic knees, repeated steroid injections over two years brought no long-term improvement in pain, according to a study funded in part by the NIAMS. Rather than showing any benefit, the results revealed that the injections sped the loss of the cartilage that cushions the knee joint.
Image: Knee cartilage of patient with osteoarthritis.
Photo credit: Timothy E. McAlindon, M.D., M.P.H., Tufts Medical Center.
In a study funded in part by the NIAMS, researchers identified an immune cell subtype that is prevalent in the joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). These “T peripheral helper” (Tph) cells have properties that enable them to migrate to inflamed joints and collaborate with other cells to promote an immune attack. The findings provide new insights into the molecular causes of RA and may offer strategies for developing more precise therapies for RA and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus.
Image: Tph cells (blue) stimulate antibody production by B cells (green) in joints of people with RA.
Photo credit: Michael B. Brenner, M.D., and Deepak Rao, M.D., Ph.D., Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston.
The NIAMS welcomes four new members to its advisory council. The council serves as the principal advisory body to the NIAMS, the lead federal agency for research on bones, joints, muscles, and skin.
Image: NIAMS Director Stephen Katz, M.D., Ph.D., (c) and Deputy Director Robert Carter, M.D., (r) welcome new members to the Institute’s council. They are (from l) Michael Yaszemski, M.D., Ph.D., Judith James, M.D., Ph.D., Rosemary Markoff, and Michael Econs, M.D., Ph.D.
Photo credit: NIH Medical Arts.
The NIAMS Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research offers students the opportunity to gain valuable experience working with leading biomedical researchers in the NIAMS’ Intramural Research Program. Read about this year’s summer interns and their experiences, as described in their own words. In addition, find out about applying to the 2018 Summer Internship Program. Applications are accepted from November 15, 2017, to March 1, 2018.
Image: 2017 summer students with Robert Walker, Ph.D., Chief of the NIAMS Career Development and Outreach Branch (center, back row), and Stephanie Mathews, Ph.D., Scientific Program Manager (right, back row).
Photo credit: NIH Medical Arts.
The U.S. Department of Defense has published two funding opportunities for lupus research (a Concept Award and an Impact Award) as part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs’ Lupus Research Program.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director, Scott Gottlieb, M.D., discusses patient access to investigational new treatments in the Expanded Access (Compassionate Use) Program, highlighting two changes: A simplified physician request form and a streamlined Institutional Review Board approval process.
The FDA awarded 15 new clinical trial research grants totaling more than $22 million over the next four years to boost the development of products for patients with rare diseases. One of the awards is to Columbia University Medical Center (New York), Elizabeth Shane, M.D., for “Phase 2 Study of Teriparatide for the Treatment of Idiopathic Osteoporosis in Premenopausal Women”—about $1.9 million over four years.
- Columbia University Medical Center, Adi Cohen, M.D., Prospective Study in Pregnancy and Lactation-Associated Osteoporosis, approximately $2 million over five years
- University of Utah, Nicholas Johnson, M.D., Prospective Study in Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 To Determine Biomarkers and Clinical Endpoints, approximately $2 million over five years
Studies supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that analyzed two population-based registries, the Manhattan Lupus Surveillance Program and the California Lupus Surveillance Project, determined that Asian/Pacific Islander women and Hispanic women are more likely to be affected by systemic lupus erythematosus compared with white women. The studies also confirmed an increase in lupus diagnoses among African American women and showed that lupus-related kidney disease (lupus nephritis) is more common among Asians and Hispanics compared with non-Hispanic whites.
Photo credit: CDC.
The Discovery Channel documentary, First in Human, featured the NIH Clinical Center, the world’s largest hospital dedicated to clinical research. It first aired in August 2017 and showed the real-life experiences of patients, their families, doctors, researchers, staff and caregivers at the NIH Clinical Center. The three-part documentary is now available on demand.
The September Clinical Digest from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) provides summaries of current research on various mind and body practices for fibromyalgia, as well as additional resources such as Clinical Practice Guidelines, Scientific Literature, For Your Patients and Fibromyalgia: In Depth.
Photo credit: Thinkstock.
The image on the left is the procapsid (outer protein shell) of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), the virus that causes cold sores. The image on the right is the mature capsid of the same virus. The major capsid proteins form hexons (lighter blue) and pentons (darker blue) connected by triplexes (green). As the virus matures, the holes in the procapsid close to stabilize the mature capsid. Understanding this process can help researchers determine how the virus infects cells and may lead to new treatments.
Photo credit: Bernard Heymann, Ph.D., NIAMS Laboratory of Structural Biology Research, 2003.
Updated NIH Pain Websites: NIH Pain Consortium and Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee Websites
The NIH Pain Consortium website and the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee website have been updated.
New information on the NIH Pain Consortium website includes several Pain Awareness Month features such as the NIH Directors' Videos on Pain, Q&A With Mr. George Carter: Sickle Cell Patient and Advocate, and new health information. Just for fun, you might want to try:
- Test Your Knowledge—Quizzes from the NIH to test how well you know these conditions:
New information on the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee website includes:
- NIH Public-Private Research Initiative on Pain and Opioid Abuse
- NINDS Director's Message on the Federal Pain Research Strategy
Follow the NIH Pain Consortium on Twitter: @NIHPainResearch
October 26–27, 2017
NIH Campus, Bethesda, Maryland
Details and registration information available here.
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, open to the public and available live via webcast.
November 1, 2017
Annual William Paul Lecture
Thomas A. Waldmann, M.D., National Cancer Institute
“The Two Faces of the IL-15- Janus Kinase-Stat System: Implications for the Immunotherapy of Autoimmune Diseases and Cancer”
November 14, 2017
Rob Knight, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
“Establishing Causality in Microbiome Studies”
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 (videocast). The NIH calendar notes these videocast events with a video icon .