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5. Institute-Initiated Programs Starting in FY 2010

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 Experts (BEE), and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council (NHLBAC). The advisory committees and the BEE, 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. Other 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 BEE, which reviews and prioritizes them. The concepts, along with the comments from the BEE, 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 2010 are presented below according to NHLBI scientific programs. Also described are trans-NIH, trans-PHS, and interagency initiatives in which the NHLBI participates.

Heart and Vascular Diseases Program

Initiatives Being Renewed

NHLBI Programs of Excellence in Nanotechnology

The purpose of this renewal is to develop nanotechnology-based tools for diagnosing and treating heart, lung, and blood diseases.

Proteomics Initiative

The purpose of this renewal is to develop and enhance proteomic technologies to achieve a greater understanding of physiological pathways, molecular interactions, and regulatory signals that are associated with heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

New Initiatives

Cardiac Translational Research Implementation Program

The purpose of this RFA is to conduct Stage 1 exploratory studies to determine the efficacy and safety of promising new therapeutic interventions derived from fundamental research discoveries for treating and preventing heart failure or arrhythmias.

Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Arterial Stiffening and Its Relationship to the Development of Hypertension

The purpose of this RFA is to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying large conduit artery stiffening and to determine the temporal relationship between arterial stiffening and the development of hypertension in animal models.

Center for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research

The purpose of this RFA is to conduct cardiovascular outcomes and comparative effectiveness research that focuses on patient- and clinician-relevant outcomes of health care and their determinants.

Pumps for Kids, Infants, and Neonates

The purpose of this RFP is to complete preclinical testing of investigational mechanical circulatory support devices (MCSDs) and to conduct clinical studies of the devices in infants and young children with congenital and acquired CVD who experience cardiopulmonary failure and circulatory collapse.

Role of Cardiomyocyte in Heart Disease: An Integrated Approach

The purpose of this RFA is to develop an integrated understanding of cardiomyocyte mitochondria and their contributions to myocardial adaptations and heart disease progression by combining functional data with information derived from advanced technologies.

Systems Biology Collaborations

The purpose of this PA with review is to promote the use of collaborative teams of investigators to develop a coordinated systems biology approach to understand normal physiology and perturbations associated with heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

Lung Diseases Program

New Initiatives

Functional Modeling of Pediatric Upper Airway Disorders

The purpose of this RFA is to determine the biological and structural components that limit airflow in congenital or acquired disorders of the pediatric upper airway. Scientists seek to develop innovative approaches that will identify targets for intervention to correct obstruction of airflow through the upper airway.

Lung Transplantation: Planning Grants for Clinical Trials of Novel Therapies

The purpose of this RFA is to develop preclinical trials to test important new strategies to enhance the quality of lungs available for transplant and improve management and long-term outcomes of lung transplant recipients.

Novel Therapies for Lung Diseases—Phase II

The purpose of this RFA is to conduct Phase II clinical trials of innovative agents for lung diseases and sleep disorders.

Prematurity and Respiratory Outcomes Program

The purpose of this RFA is to examine molecular mechanisms that contribute to acute and chronic respiratory morbidity in premature infants. The well-phenotyped populations developed in this program will significantly increase the chance of studying groups with common pathophysiology and lay the groundwork for biomarker discovery.

Systems Biology Approach to the Mechanisms of TB Latency and Reactivation

The purpose of this RFA is to apply a collaborative systems biology approach to study mechanisms of latency and reactivation of TB in host lung cells. The goal is to develop better TB drugs, more effective vaccines, and better diagnostics.


Initiatives Being Renewed

Production Assistance for Cellular Therapies

The purpose of this renewal is to advance cellular therapy research in the regeneration of damaged or diseased tissues, organs, and biologic systems and targeted treatments for severe diseases that are currently lacking effective therapies.

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

The purpose of this renewal is to identify factors that control differentiation of stem cells in vitro or in vivo. The goal is to develop methods that direct differentiation of stem cells to yield replacement cells for clinical use or stimulate differentiation of resident stem cells in vivo for regeneration or repair of the heart, blood vessels, lungs, and blood.

Mentored Career Award for Faculty at Minority Serving Institutions

The purpose of this renewal is to support eligible faculty members at minority-serving institutions to undertake specialized study and supervised research under a mentor who is an accomplished investigator in the area proposed and has experience in developing independent investigators.

Mentored Career Development Award To Promote Faculty Diversity/Re-Entry in Biomedical Research

The purpose of this renewal is to increase the number of highly trained investigators who are from diverse backgrounds or who have experienced an interruption in their research career and whose basic and clinical research interests involve advanced methods and experimental approaches that are needed to solve problems related to cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

Minority Institutional Research Training Program

The purpose of this renewal is to support training of predoctoral and health professional students and individuals in postdoctoral training at minority-serving institutions in cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders research.

Programs To Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research

The purpose of this renewal is to establish summer institutes for junior faculty and scientists from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and those with disabilities to augment their research skills and knowledge, which in turn will enhance their career development as faculty members or scientists.

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

The purpose of this renewal is to promote diversity in undergraduate and health professional student populations by providing short-term research education support to stimulate career development in cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders research.

New Initiative

Reducing Cardiovascular Disease Risk Through Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The purpose of this RFA is to conduct preliminary studies to obtain information to guide the design of a Phase III clinical trial on the efficacy of positive airway pressure (PAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea as a means to reduce cardiovascular events. The goals are to determine the feasibility of long-term (12 to 18 months) PAP treatment in patients at risk of CVD and to determine the effects of PAP on surrogate or intermediate markers of cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular risk factors.


Initiatives Being Renewed

Exploratory/Developmental Clinical Research Grants in Obesity

The purpose of this renewal is to encourage exploratory/developmental clinical research that will accelerate the development of effective interventions for preventing or treating overweight or obesity in adults and children.

Improving Diet and Physical Activity Assessment

The purpose of this renewal is to improve diet and physical activity measurement through the development of innovative assessment approaches, improved data collection instruments, new technologies, or statistical and analytical techniques.

National Registry of Genetically Triggered Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms and Other Cardiovascular Conditions

The purpose of this renewal is to increase the value and effectiveness of the NHLBI-supported national registry that was established to advance the clinical management of genetic thoracic aortic aneurysms and other cardiovascular complications that are associated with connective tissue diseases.

National Research Service Awards for Senior Fellows

The purpose of this renewal is to enable experienced scientists who have at least 7 years of research experience beyond the doctorate and who have progressed to the stage of independent investigator to make major changes in the direction of their research career or broaden their scientific background. The program will support 2 years of full-time training for senior fellows at the NIH or at other institutions.

Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (Limited Competition)

The purpose of this renewal is to continue support for collecting data that will enable scientists to understand more fully the effect of HIV on sexual maturation, pubertal development, and socialization of perinatally HIV-infected preadolescents and adolescents and to determine the long-term safety of fetal and infant exposure to prophylactic antiretroviral agents.

Pharmacogenomics Research Network

The purpose of this renewal is to identify genes, pathways, and systems that produce interindividual differences in drug responses and establish the mechanistic basis for them.

Stem Cell Research: Career Enhancement Award

The purpose of this renewal is to provide investigators with the opportunity to acquire research capabilities in the use of human or animal embryonic, adult, or cord blood stem cells.

New Initiatives

Application of Metabolomics for Translational and Biological Research

The purpose of this PA is to apply metabolomic technologies for translational research in health and disease to enable and improve disease detection, diagnosis, and risk assessment and the prognosis and prediction of therapeutic responses.

Bariatric Surgery: Pilot Studies for Studying Mechanisms of Improvement on Cardiovascular, Lung, and Sleep Diseases

The purpose of this RFA is to determine the optimal research design for a randomized clinical trial of the effects of bariatric surgery on patients with cardiovascular or lung diseases or sleep disorders.

Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities

The purpose of this RFA is to promote transdisciplinary research in health disparities to improve health outcomes and quality of life for populations at high risk for CVD. Focus is on understanding the pathways that result in disparate health outcomes and developing comprehensive models of the effect of various social, economic, cultural, environmental, biological, behavioral, physiological, and genetic factors on individual health outcomes and their distribution in populations.

Childhood Obesity Prevention and Treatment Research

The purpose of this RFA is to evaluate the efficacy of innovative interventions to prevent excess weight gain in normal weight children ages 1–10 years, prevent additional weight gain in obese youth ages 11–18 years, and facilitate weight loss in obese youth ages 11–18 years.

Effectiveness Research on Smoking Cessation in Hospitalized Patients

The purpose of this RFA is to evaluate the translation of successful smoking cessation strategies, begun during hospitalization and continued post-discharge, into effective programs that can be widely used in routine clinical practice and assess the cost-effectiveness of the interventions.

Health Behaviors in School-Age Children—A Longitudinal Study

The purposes of this intra-agency agreement are to increase the understanding of adolescent health behaviors and lifestyle (i.e., influences of diets, physical activity, and obesity on cardiovascular health) and to use the information to develop effective preventive programs.

Nutrition and Physical Activity Research To Promote Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Health

The purpose of this PA is to study the role of nutrition and physical activity in the development, prevention, and management of CVD and pulmonary diseases, such as asthma and COPD. Research findings will be used to refine public health recommendations and clinical guidelines regarding lifestyle behaviors and to develop and test strategies that will improve adoption of the recommendations.

Physical Activity To Prevent Disability Trial

The purpose of this RFA is to compare the long-term effectiveness and practicality of two interventions, a physical activity program and a successful aging health education program, to prevent or delay the declining ability of older adults to walk.

Safe and Effective Instruments and Devices for Use in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units

The purpose of this SBIR/STTR is to develop or improve safe and effective devices and instruments for monitoring and treating infants in neonatal intensive care units.


Initiatives Being Renewed

Individual Predoctoral Fellowships To Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research

The purpose of this renewal is to increase the diversity of the health-related research workforce by supporting the training of predoctoral students from groups that have been shown to be underrepresented (e.g., individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds).

Interagency Registry for Mechanical Circulatory Support

The purpose of this renewal is to continue support for a national registry of patients receiving an MCSD to treat advanced heart failure.

National Longitudinal Mortality Study

The purpose of this renewal is to develop a database to study the effects of demographic and socioeconomic differentials on mortality rates in the United States.


Initiative Being Renewed

Clinical Research Consortium To Improve Resuscitation Outcomes

The purpose of this renewal is to continue support for clinical trials that focus on early field delivery of lifesaving interventions by emergency medical service teams to optimize patient survival.

New Initiative

Community-Based Partnerships for Childhood Obesity Prevention and Control Research

The purpose of this PA is to stimulate childhood obesity research through community-based partnerships that include local, state, and regional teams of researchers, policymakers, and other relevant stakeholders—such as community representatives, public health practitioners, and educators.

Private–Public Partnership

New Initiatives

Studying Community Programs To Reduce Childhood Obesity

The purpose of this RFP is to examine outcomes associated with existing community programs designed to reduce childhood obesity by improving the diet and physical activity behaviors of children.

Randomized Evaluation of VAD Intervention Before Inotropic Therapy Feasibility Trial

The purpose of this RFP is to explore the potential benefit of mechanical circulatory support therapy using ventricular assist devices (VADs) in functionally impaired advanced heart failure patients who have not yet developed serious consequences from their disease. The feasibility study will permit the design of a trial directed at a large and growing patient population for whom VADs could offer substantial benefit before the need for inotropic intravenous drug therapy.

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