FYI from the NHLBI Index

February 2005: Vol. 5, Issue 3
Feature Articles

NHLBI Welcomes New Director

Cooperative Research Program for Improved Hemophilia Therapy

New Treatment Guidelines for Women with Asthma

NHLBI Welcomes New Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D.

Effective February 1, Dr. Elizabeth Nabel assumed the position of Director, NHLBI.

Dr. Nabel joined the NHLBI in 1999 as the Institute’s Scientific Director of Clinical Research. Her many accomplishments in that position include initiation of a state-of-the-art training and research program in cardiovascular surgery and a program to investigate genetic variation among patients with vascular diseases. During her time at the NHLBI, Dr. Nabel has also served as the chief of the Institute’s Vascular Biology Section, directing research on the molecular, cellular, and genetic mechanisms that cause vascular disorders. Her lab, which has published more than 200 papers, has studied factors involved in the regulation of vascular smooth muscle cell growth and vascular inflammation. This research has opened up new avenues for therapeutic targets for vascular diseases.

A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dr. Nabel received her medical education at Cornell University Medical College and then moved to Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University where she completed an internship and residency in internal medicine and a clinical and research fellowship in cardiovascular medicine. She joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 1987 as an Assistant Professor of Medicine, and rose through the ranks, becoming Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center in 1992, Professor of Internal Medicine and Physiology in 1994, and Director of the Division of Cardiology in 1997. While at the University of Michigan, she became known for her research in the fields of vascular biology and molecular cardiology and for her gene transfer studies in the cardiovascular system.

“I am honored to lead the NHLBI,” said Dr. Nabel. “The Institute has a long and distinguished record in support of research on heart, lung, blood, and sleep diseases. As we look to the future, there are unprecedented opportunities to advance our understanding of these diseases and to improve upon the care and treatment of the millions of people affected by them. The NHLBI will strive to address these challenges through a research agenda that builds upon innovation, creativity, and the most advanced biomedical technologies,” she added.

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Cooperative Research Program for Improved Hemophilia Therapy

The NHLBI and the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) are implementing a cooperative research program to improve treatments for bleeding disorders such as hemophilia and von Willebrand disease. Together the NHLBI and the NHF will be able to fund more highly meritorious applications than the NHLBI would be able to support on its own.

The NHLBI will commit FY 2005 funds sufficient to support 4 to 5 awards under the request for applications (RFA HL 04-032). The NHF plans to support on its own an additional 4 to 5 new grants relevant to its mission. The new program will address the inadequacies of current therapies by supporting research in several areas identified in discussions with the Foundation.

Partnering with public interest organizations (PIOs) through a cooperative research program is a model the NHLBI has used before with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This approach can be of mutual benefit when a research need is identified, the scientific knowledge is sufficient to address it, and a PIO is interested in working with the NHLBI. PIOs interested in exploring this type of program are encouraged to contact Dr. Carl Roth at 301 496-6331 or rothc@nih.gov.

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New Treatment Guidelines for Pregnant Women with Asthma

The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP), which is administered by the NHLBI, issued new treatment guidelines for managing asthma during pregnancy. The guidelines emphasize that controlling asthma during pregnancy is important for the health and well-being of the mother as well as for the healthy development of the fetus. A stepwise approach to asthma care similar to that used in the NAEPP general asthma treatment guidelines for children and nonpregnant adults is recommended. Under the approach, medication is stepped up in intensity if needed, and stepped down when possible, depending on asthma severity. Because asthma severity changes during pregnancy for most women, the guidelines also recommend that clinicians who provide obstetric care monitor asthma severity during prenatal visits. For more information, visit guidelines.

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