The National Institutes of Health is challenging science innovators to compete for prizes totaling up to $500,000, by developing new ways to track the health status of a single cell in complex tissue over time. The NIH Follow that Cell Challenge seeks tools that would, for example, monitor a cell in the process of becoming cancerous, detect changes due to a disease-causing virus, or track how a cell responds to treatment.
"Advances in cellular analysis promise earlier diagnosis and improved therapies for diseases, from cancer to Alzheimer's," said James Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., director of NIH's Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI). "These prizes will also help to stimulate new businesses and economic growth in our biomedical communities."
The challenge aims to generate creative ideas and methods for following and predicting a single cell's behavior and function over time in a complex multicellular environment preferably using multiple integrated measures to detect its changing state.
The challenge is issued under America COMPETES, by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), on behalf of the NIH Common Fund's Single Cell Analysis Program (SCAP), part of DPCPSI.
"All cells of a particular type are not identical," explained Anderson. "An individual cell may become very different, affecting the health and function of its entire population. Today's tools provide mostly snapshots of single cells, not the movie of changes over time that we need to understand cell states and transitions from one state to another."
Although several grant-supported studies exploring these issues are underway, SCAP sought to stimulate efforts beyond academia among a more diverse community than researchers who typically apply for NIH grants. These include innovators and problem solvers from U.S. industry research and
|Contact: Jules Asher|
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health