Each June, World Sickle Cell Day offers NHLBI a chance to reflect on our ongoing commitment to improving the lives of those living with this devastating blood disorder. Sickle cell disease affects millions worldwide and about 90,000 to 100,000 people in the United States. NHLBI- and NIH-supported research has made significant advances that have helped extend the lives of those who have sickle cell disease. But we recognize much remains to be accomplished, such as enabling a generation of children with sickle cell disease to live without fear of suffering a stroke. Our efforts include not only seeking a more-widely available cure but engaging and enriching the community affected by this life-long condition.
The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), one of the largest women's health projects ever launched in the United States, continues to yield new insights for the health of women. As the program gears up to launch two new trials, I took the opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of women who have participated in the WHI for many years, and sent them a heartfelt note of thanks. They responded with numerous sincere sentiments of gratitude for being able to participate in the study.
The NHLBI has launched a Strategic Visioning process to gather ideas for the most compelling scientific priorities to address over the next decade. Broad participation from the heart, lung, blood, and sleep research communities – scientists and patients alike - is vital to the success of this effort.
From the use of antibiotics to prevent and treat infections in children with sickle cell disease to the FDA approval of the drug hydroxyurea, researchers have made steady progress during the last few decades in improving the lives of individuals with sickle cell disease. Yet still, a widely available cure has remained just out of reach. Now, work from a team of researchers at the National Institutes of Health, including NHLBI's Dr. John Tisdale may open the door to reversing sickle cell disease in more patients.
When NIH researchers talk about genome-wide association studies (GWAS), they're often talking about research that compares DNA markers across the genome in people with a disease to people without the disease. In the case of NHLBI's Dr. Susan Harbison, she's most likely talking about the DNA and genome of Drosophilia, aka, the common fruit fly.
When Dr. Bernadine Healy passed away in 2011, she left behind a legacy of bolstering biomedical research on women's health. While Director of the NIH, she established a policy to fund only those clinical trials that included both men and women when the condition being studied affected both sexes. It was during her tenure as NIH director that the NIH launched the landmark Women's Health Initiative, which is now housed within the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
The statistics are startling: 50-70 million U.S. adults have sleep or wakefulness disorders, which account for $50 billion dollars in lost productivity each year. And even those who don’t have a diagnosed disorder often are affected by lack of sleep, asd evidenced by the fact that one-third of Americans get fewer than seven hours of sleep per night.
Dr. Warren Leonard, chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology and director of the Immunology Center at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, studied the basic aspects of the interleukin-2 receptor. This research into IL-2 led he and his team Â to the realization that mutations of the gamma chain of the receptor resulted in X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency in humans, aka, the Bubble Boy Disease.
As web-surfing consumers, we know that potentially every online search or purchase is being tracked, mined and analyzed as ‘big data' that retailers use to optimize and customize their marketing pitch to us. As physicians, we gather information about our patients all the time, at every visit. And like major online retailers, we should be learning something about our patients from all of the information we gather, gleaning insights into how to better treat not only that particular patient, but all patients. However, many would argue that not only are we doing an inadequate job at capturing that information, but also at mining the information we do gather to improve care.
The NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovations is an NHLBI-funded initiative to improve how basic science advances and discoveries are translated into commercially viable products that improve patient care and advance public health. NHLBI Director Dr. Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., talks with three leaders in the field of moving discoveries into clinical practice.