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5. Institute-Initiated Programs Starting in FY 2006


More than two-thirds of the research supported by the NHLBI is initiated by individual investigators; the remainder is initiated by the Institute. Institute-initiated programs are developed in response to evolving national needs, Congressional mandates, and advances in scientific knowledge. Each initiative represents the outcome of extensive discussions and thorough reviews by representatives of the scientific community, Institute advisory committees, the Board of Extramural Advisors (BEA), and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council (NHLBAC). The advisory committees and the BEA, together with professional societies and NHLBI staff, continually review the progress of research within the NHLBI program areas, assess newly acquired knowledge, and identify research topics that offer the best opportunities or constitute the greatest needs. This planning process contributes to policy development at the national level by setting priorities among programs and establishing budgets for individual programs and projects.

Initiatives generally emanate as Requests for Applications (RFAs) for grants, including cooperative agreements, or Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for contracts. A smaller number of initiatives take the form of Program Announcements (PAs). Applications and proposals submitted in response to RFAs and RFPs compete among themselves for specific "set-aside" funds. Applications submitted in response to PAs generally compete with other investigator-initiated applications for funding.

RFA, RFP, and PA concepts prepared by the Institute are presented to the BEA, which reviews and prioritizes them. The concepts, along with the comments from the BEA, are then sent to the NHLBAC for review, comment, and concurrence. Initiatives that receive the concurrence of the NHLBAC are considered further by the NHLBI Director in the context of the Institute's budget, program priorities, review workload, and proposed mechanisms. These considerations guide the Director's subsequent decisions to approve initiatives for release.RFAs, RFPs, and PAs are announced in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts.

Applications and proposals submitted in response to RFAs and RFPs are reviewed by the NHLBI. Applications submitted in response to PAs are reviewed by the NIH Center for Scientific Review.

Descriptions of the Institute-initiated programs that began or were renewed (i.e., were funded) in FY 2006 are presented below according to NHLBI scientific programs. Also described are trans-NIH and interagency initiatives in which the NHLBI participates.

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Heart and Vascular Diseases Program

Initiative Being Renewed

Pediatric Heart Network

The purpose of this renewal is to evaluate new treatments and management strategies that may benefit children with structural congenital heart disease, inflammatory heart disease, heart muscle disease, or arrhythmias.

New Initiatives

Heart Failure Clinical Research Network

The purpose of this RFA is to establish a clinical research network to accelerate research in the diagnosis and management of heart failure for improving outcomes through optimal application of existing therapies and evaluation of new therapies.

Innovative Technologies for Engineering Small Blood Vessels

The purpose of this RFA is to develop small (internal diameter less than 5 mm), functional vessel substitutes with improved biocompatibility and durability for later clinical evaluation as vessel replacement therapy in humans.

Research Career Development Programs in Vascular Medicine

The purpose of this RFA is to prepare physicians for academic leadership roles in vascular medicine through comprehensive training programs in research methodology, risk assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of vascular disease.

Specialized Centers of Clinically Oriented Research in Vascular Injury, Repair, and Remodeling

The purpose of this SCCOR is to foster interdependent clinical and multidisciplinary basic research on molecular and cellular mechanisms of vascular injury, repair, and remodeling; promote patient-oriented research to improve prevention, detection, characterization, management, and treatment of vascular diseases; and enable the development of skills and research capabilities of new clinical investigators.

Weight Loss in Obese Adults With Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Clinical Interventions

The purpose of this RFA is to test the effectiveness of interventions delivered in routine clinical practice to achieve weight loss in obese patients who have other risk factors for CVD. 

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Lung Diseases Program

Initiative Being Renewed

Severe Asthma Research Program

The purpose of this renewal is to continue support for clinical research studies on the mechanistic basis of severe asthma and to determine how it differs from mild-to-moderate asthma.

New Initiative

Infectious Agents in the Origins of Chronic Lung Disease

The purpose of this RFA is to investigate the contribution of infectious agents or bioproducts derived from infectious agents to the early origin of chronic lung diseases.

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Blood Diseases and Resources Program

New Initiatives

Clinical Hematology Research Career Development Program (K12)

The purpose of this RFA is to develop multidisciplinary career development programs in nonmalignant clinical hematology research in order to equip new academic investigators with the knowledge and skill necessary to address complex problems in blood diseases, transfusion medicine, and cellular therapies.

Critical Issues in Post-Phlebitic Syndrome

The purpose of this RFA is to support fundamental research on the biology of venous wall and venous valve function and their changes with time following deep vein thrombosis in order to accelerate preclinical studies and develop better management of post-phlebitic syndrome.

Proteomic Studies of Platelet Function

The purpose of this RFA is to support research on the application of proteomic tools to identify platelet disorders.  The goal is to generate results that will lead to proteomic approaches and new markers of platelet function. 

Sickle Cell Disease Clinical Research Network

The purpose of this RFA is to establish a clinical research network to test the efficacy of new therapies to treat and prevent SCD complications; create data sets that can be used to improve characterization of patients and their clinical course; apply genomic and proteomic techniques for improved diagnostic and therapeutic approaches; and expand the clinical application of multimodal therapies in SCD.

Specialized Centers of Clinically Oriented Research in Hemostatic and Thrombotic Diseases

The purpose of this SCCOR is to foster interdependent clinical and multidisciplinary basic research projects on hemostatic and thrombotic diseases.

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Trans-NHLBI

Initiative Being Renewed

NHLBI Minority Undergraduate Biomedical Education Program

The purpose of this renewal is to facilitate the recruitment and retention of minority undergraduate students into biomedical science and increase the number of minority individuals involved in biomedical and behavioral research.

New Initiatives

Candidate Gene Association Resource

The purpose of this RFP is to provide a genotyping and bioinformatics center that will perform high-throughput genotyping for candidate gene association studies and a genome-wide association study. These data will be combined with available phenotype data to form a genotype-phenotype resource for public use.

Cultural Competence and Health Disparity Academic Award

The purpose of this RFA is to develop core curricula and other educational materials at U.S. medical institutions that will increase the overall knowledge and skills of medical students, house staff, and other health professionals on the ethnic, cultural, religious, socioeconomic, and linguistic factors that contribute to health disparities and on culturally competent approaches to mitigate them.

Hispanic Community Health Study

The purpose of this RFP is to identify risk factors for cardiovascular and lung diseases in Hispanic populations and determine the role of acculturation in their prevalence and development.

Mechanisms Linking Short Sleep Duration and Risk of Obesity or Overweight

The purpose of this RFA is to determine the relationship between chronic sleep deficit and obesity and overweight. Research will be supported to elucidate the mechanisms associated with short sleep duration and weight gain due to altered metabolism, appetite, or inflammation.

Mentored Career Award for Faculty at Minority Institutions (K01)

The purpose of this RFA is to strengthen the scientific infrastructure of minority institutions by developing the research career and teaching skills of suitable faculty members in cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

Mentored Career Development Award To Promote Faculty Diversity in Biomedical Research (K01)

The purpose of this RFA is to support underrepresented faculty members from racial and ethnic minority groups and individuals with disabilities at academic institutions in health-related research. The goal is to establish a cadre of biomedical and behavioral researchers from diverse backgrounds who will significantly contribute to reducing and ultimately eliminating health disparities.

NHLBI Exploratory Program in Systems Biology

The purpose of this RFA is to apply "systems biology" approaches to innovative, high-risk, high-impact research on heart, lung, blood, and sleep physiology and pathophysiology by multidisciplinary teams of investigators. The systems biology approach will combine mathematical modeling and simulation to complement the traditional empirical and experimental approach of biomedical research.

NHLBI Innovative Research Grant Program

The purpose of this PA is to support studies that address promising, yet underdeveloped research topics and therapeutic approaches to heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders. The program is intended to encourage investigation of exciting new ideas by relaxing the need for preliminary data and demonstration of concept feasibility generally required by standard NIH research project (R01) reviews.

SBIR/STTR Technologies for Monitoring and Performing Resuscitation

The purpose of this PA is to encourage small businesses to participate in research and development of new approaches, tools, and biomaterials to provide bioengineering-based methodologies for monitoring and performing resuscitation.

Short Courses on Application of Genomics and Proteomics to Complex Heart, Lung, and Blood Diseases and Sleep Disorders

The purpose of this RFA is to develop, conduct, evaluate, and disseminate short-term courses on application of genomics and proteomics to heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

Short-Term Training Program To Increase Diversity in Health-Related Research

The purpose of this RFA is to promote diversity in undergraduate and health professional students by providing opportunities for them to participate in activities leading to research careers in cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

SNP Health Association Resource (SHARE)

The purpose of this RFP is to identify genetic variants associated with heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders through the application of large scale single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping for genome-wide association analyses. In collaboration with the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the Institute is developing a public-use data resource that will integrate genome-wide genotypic information with phenotypic information from multiple NHLBI studies.

SNP Typing for Association With Multiple Phenotypes From Existing Epidemiology Data (STAMPEED)

The purpose of this RFA is to identify genetic components related to heart, lung, and blood diseases and their risk factors using existing population, family, and other clinical studies. Investigators will seek to identify associations of genes with the presence of one particular disorder and examine interactions between genetic and environmental factors; susceptibility for multiple conditions; or associations of genes with disease risk factors, disease incidence, or therapeutic responsiveness.

Summer Institute Program To Increase Diversity in Health-Related Research

The purpose of this RFA is to develop the research skills of faculty and scientists from under-represented racial and ethnic groups and faculty and scientists with disabilities so that they may successfully compete for funding for biomedical and behavioral research relevant to heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

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Trans-NIH

Initiatives Being Renewed

Bioengineering Research Grants (BRGs)

The purpose of this renewal is to encourage multidisciplinary, integrative research that applies systems approaches to prevent, detect, diagnose, treat, or understand health and behavior. The BRGs differ from the BRPs in that the research will be performed in a single laboratory, by a single investigator, or by a small group of investigators.

Bioengineering Research Partnerships (BRPs)

The purpose of this renewal is to encourage multidisciplinary, integrative research that applies systems approaches to prevent, detect, diagnose, treat, or understand health and behavior.

Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network

The purpose of this renewal is to conduct Phase II trials on transplantation methodologies to improve long-term outcome following transplantation and devise procedures for protocol development, protocol implementation, and data management that will enable collaboration with other NIH-funded cooperative research programs and increase the efficiency of conducting trials in blood and marrow transplantation.

Short-Term Courses in Human Embryonic Stem Cell Culture Techniques

The purpose of this RFA is to develop, conduct, evaluate, and disseminate short-term courses on laboratory research techniques for working with human embryonic stem cell lines.

New Initiatives

Academic Research Enhancement Award

The purpose of this PA is to stimulate research at educational institutions that provide baccalaureate or advanced training for research scientists, but that have not been major recipients of NIH support.

Animal Models of Diabetic Complications Consortium

The purpose of this RFA is to establish Pathobiology Sites that will support the Animal Models of Diabetic Complications Consortium. The Sites will propose new mouse models that will faithfully replicate one or more diabetic complications, and will discover and characterize the basic pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying disease in these and other models of complications.

Biology of RNA Interference (RNAi): Stability, Delivery, and Processing by Tissues

The purpose of this RFA is to stimulate research toward (1) understanding uptake and processing of RNAi by target tissues; (2) assessing stability, half-life, and off-target effects in target tissues; and (3) determining optimal delivery methods for uptake by the target tissues.

Design and Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies

The purpose of this RFA is to develop and test innovative study designs and analytical strategies to perform genome-wide association studies on diseases affecting heart, lung, blood, or sleep.

Directed Stem Cell Differentiation for Cell-Based Therapies for Heart, Lung, Blood, and Aging Diseases

The purpose of this PA is to support research to define factors controlling differentiation of stem cells in vitro or in vivo. The goal is to develop methods to direct differentiation of stem cells to yield replacement cells for clinical use or to develop methods to stimulate differentiation of resident stem cells in vivo for regeneration or repair of heart, blood vessels, lungs, and blood.

Exploratory and Development Research Grants for Investigation in Rare Diseases

The purpose of this PA is to support investigators with innovative approaches to understanding, treating, and preventing rare diseases associated with heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders. Availability of R21 awards for such individuals is expected to allow them to obtain research support without the need for the large amounts of preliminary data that often present a barrier to entry into the NIH grants system.

Exploratory/Developmental Bioengineering Research Grants

The purpose of this PA is to encourage innovative, high-risk, high-impact bioengineering research for which preliminary results have not yet been obtained. The research may explore approaches and concepts new to a particular subject area; research and development of new technologies, techniques or methods; or initial research and development of data upon which significant future research may be built.

Innovations in Biomedical Computational Science and Technology

The purpose of this PA is to promote research and development in computational science and technology that will support rapid progress in biomedical research.

Ischemic Stroke: Novel Targets and Therapy Development

The purpose of this RFA is to identify new molecular targets, explore promising agents, and develop innovative treatments for cerebral ischemia. The initiative seeks to enhance our understanding of brain hemostasis (stoppage of bleeding), including endothelial properties, expression and regulation of coagulant activity, and clot composition.

Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)

The purpose of this PA is to support the career development of investigators who have made a commitment to focus their efforts on patient-oriented research.

Muscular Dystrophy: Pathogenesis and Therapies

The purpose of this PA is to support basic, translational, and patient-oriented studies of Duchenne-Becker muscular dystrophy, facioscapulohumeral dystrophy, and other forms of muscular dystrophy.

Nutrition and Diet in the Causation, Prevention, and Management of Heart Failure

The purpose of this PA is to encourage research on the role of nutrition and diet in the causation, prevention, and treatment of cardiomyopathies and heart failure. The goal is to develop a satisfactory science base for preventive approaches in high-risk individuals and for rational nutritional management of patients in various stages of heart failure.

Obese and Diabetic Intrauterine Environment: Long-Term Metabolic or Cardiovascular Consequences in the Offspring

The purpose of this RFA is to investigate the effect of maternal obesity and diabetes on mechanisms that could potentially contribute to obesity, cardiovascular, or metabolic disease in the offspring; and to determine if and how maternal overnutrition elicits permanent metabolic or cardiovascular disease in the fetus.

Pilot and Feasibility Program Related to the Kidney

The purpose of this PA is to support high-risk pilot and feasibility research that will enable subsequent submission of R01 applications relevant to the study of acute and chronic kidney diseases and their complications.

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Trans-PHS

New Initiative

Community Participation in Research

The purpose of this PA is to conduct community-based research on health promotion, disease prevention, and health disparities. The NHLBI will support joint projects conducted by researchers and communities in hypertension, cardiovascular fitness, obesity, asthma, SCD, and hereditary blood disorders.

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