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Emerging science, tech advances highlight new NIH Common Fund programs

Programs to create a new center for the study of stem cells and to increase capacity to deal with global health issues were among seven scientific initiatives announced today by NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. The seven research programs are supported through the NIH Common Fund, which encourages collaborative research programs across the NIH institutes and centers, or ICs, to accomplish work that no single IC could do alone. The programs are all scheduled to begin during fiscal year 2010.

"These strategic investments will yield critical new resources, scientific knowledge, and strategic partnerships across a broad landscape of basic biology, behavioral science, global health, and clinical medicine," said Dr. Collins.

The research programs will distribute $17.8 million in NIH Common Fund ( support in fiscal year 2010, and additional funds in future years. These projects capitalize on emerging scientific opportunities and technology advances to fuel biomedical discovery, strengthen the biomedical community nationally and globally, and hasten the translation of science discoveries into new and better treatments.

The seven new scientific programs are:

  1. Library of Integrated Network-based Cellular Signatures Program: This program, called LINCS, will build a community resource of scientific information to drive understanding of how components of biological systems, such as genes and proteins, function normally to maintain health or become disrupted by genetic and environmental stressors to cause disease. This resource will accelerate discoveries of the inner working of biological systems that can be targeted for use in new and better treatments.

  2. Protein Capture Reagents Program: This program creates a suite of high quality, affordable, and reliable new research tools to isolate, or capture, proteins in order to study their function under normal conditions and when the cell is stressed or diseased.

  3. Knockout Mouse Phenotyping Program: Partnering with international researchers, this program will help decipher how specific genes control certain characteristics or phenotypes such as metabolism, energy balance, and physical appearance in mice. Mice are the most widely utilized experimental animal model. The program will also establish a system to characterize thousands of mice that have been engineered to have specific genes turned off, or knocked out.

  4. Science of Behavior Change Program: This program examines how human biology, culture and society together influence a person's ability to adopt healthy behaviors and maintain them over time. This initiative will address effective motivation strategies that might be developed to curb unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, excessive alcohol drinking, poor diet and lack of exercise.

  5. NIH Induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) Cell Center: This program creates a national iPS Cell Center, under the NIH Intramural Research Program, to drive the translation of scientific knowledge about stem cell biology into new cell-based treatments.

  6. Global Health Program: This program is designed for increasing capacity for global health research by enhancing education, training and research opportunities in developing countries.

  7. Regulatory Science Program: This collaborative program between NIH and the Food and Drug Administration, announced yesterday, will encourage rapid and efficient use of new knowledge, technologies, and innovations in the development, investigation and regulatory review of medical products. The main goal is to ensure the development of safe and effective products based on the highest quality science in United States.

"The NIH Common Fund was created to transform how we do science so we can tackle the toughest health problems facing our nation and the world," said Dr. Collins. "These seven new programs will allow NIH to take advantage of rapidly emerging technologies and opportunities to work toward improvements in public health."


Contact: NIH Office of Communications
NIH/Office of the Director

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