Announcements

  • June 29, 2017

    Save the date! The 2017 NIA Directors Regional Meeting will be held November 8, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the University of Colorado, Denver in the Nighthorse Campbell Native Health Building. The purpose of this meeting is to provide information on existing opportunities for research and training, technical assistance in grant writing, advice on the design of new research proposals, and to facilitate recruitment of a diverse cohort of students and investigators to aging and health disparities research.

    As an offering of the NIA Office of Special Populations, researchers with an interest in health disparities research are encouraged to attend. Persons from diverse backgrounds, including individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities and women are always encouraged to attend NIH supported activities.

    NIA Speakers

    • Richard Hodes, M.D., NIA Director
    • Marie A. Bernard, M.D., NIA Deputy Director
    • Robin Barr, Ph.D., Director, Division of Extramural Activities
    • John Haaga, Ph.D., Director, Division of Behavioral and Social Research
    • Ron Kohanski, Ph.D., Health Scientist Administrator, Aging Biology
    • Evan Hadley, Ph.D., Director, Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology
    • Eliezer Masliah, Ph.D., Director, Division of Neurosciences
    • Carl V. Hill, Ph.D., Director, Office of Special Populations

    Regional Meeting Goals

    • Provide information on existing opportunities for research and training
    • Provide hands on technical assistance in grant writing
    • Solicit advice on the design of new research opportunities
    • Gain strategies for recruiting underrepresented students and investigators to aging research

    There will be 2 breakout sessions during the afternoon section of the agenda for participants to ask specific questions related to the NIA's research divisions and programs, training, and small business innovation research and small business technology transfer programs.

    Registration

    There is no registration fee for the 2017 NIA Directors Regional Meeting on Aging Research. Registration will open in August, 2017.

    Federal Funds will not be used in the provision or facilitation of food or beverages. Conference participants are responsible for obtaining and paying for their own food and light refreshments.

  • June 29, 2017

    The National Institutes on Aging engaged leading experts from academia, industry and non-profit foundations, working in Alzheimer’s and other complex diseases, in a strategic planning process to help ensure that the next generation of Alzheimer's Disease Centers (ADCs) is poised to accomplish the goals of the National Alzheimer’s Plan. The primary focus of this planning effort has been to develop recommendations for how the network of Alzheimer’s Disease Centers can best support the implementation of the new integrated translational research agenda put forward at the 2012 and 2015 Alzheimer’s Research Summits, as well as the ADRD summits, and outlined in the research implementation milestones. The 166 resulting recommendations outline a roadmap for the Alzheimer’s Disease Centers Program to leverage historical strengths and unique resources to transform the field of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research to better understand disease and symptom heterogeneity, increase research utilization of real world clinical information, identify early risk and protective factors, and accelerate translational research advances to clinical practice. At the same time, the recommendations focus on numerous opportunities to improve the efficiency and utilization of precious sample and data resources generated through the program to make them more widely available to the research community and improve the chances of achieving the goal of successful development of more effective approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and therapy for people with dementia and their families.

    Read the Panel's Recommendations for the ADCs (PDF, 219K)

  • June 14, 2017

    The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced that it is ending the intervention phase of the ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) trial, effective immediately. Study participants have been notified and instructed to stop taking the study medication: 100 mg of aspirin or placebo. The intervention phase was originally planned to finish in December 2017.

    The main aim of the study is to find out whether daily low dose aspirin would extend life free of disability and dementia in healthy older people. On reviewing the most recent data, NIA has seen very little difference between the groups taking aspirin or placebo in length of life free of dementia and disability since the start of the study treatment. The NIA has now concluded that it is extremely unlikely that the study would show a benefit for this, the main study outcome, even if participants continued to take study medication through December 2017 as originally planned.

    Participants will continue to be monitored and researchers will further analyze the data collected. This will provide additional information about the effects of low-dose aspirin on specific conditions as people age, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression, bleeding and cognitive impairment.

    Full data collection for this phase of the study will be completed in late 2017. An analysis of these data is expected to be completed and submitted for publication in early 2018.

    ASPREE is an international randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial in 19,114 older people (16,703 in Australia and 2,411 in the United States). The study started in 2010 and enrolled participants aged 70 years and above, except for Hispanic and African American groups in the U.S., for whom the minimum age of entry was 65 years.

    Participants in ASPREE were free of medical conditions requiring aspirin use at study enrollment. The results of ASPREE will not apply to those with a proven indication for aspirin, such as those with cardiovascular disease or a previous stroke. In addition, ASPREE results do not address aspirin’s effects in younger people.

    The ASPREE study was funded primarily by the National Institute on Aging and the National Cancer Institute of the NIH. The Australian component of the study also received substantial funding from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and Monash University. Aspirin and placebo were supplied by Bayer, which has had no other involvement with the study.

    The U.S component of the study is led by Anne Murray, M.D., M.S., of the Berman Center for Outcomes & Clinical Research and the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation at Hennepin County Medical Center. The Australian component of the study is led by Professor John McNeil, MBBS, Ph.D., FRACP, of Monash University in Melbourne.

    The study is supported through NIH award U01AG029824. Clinical trial number NCT 01038583. More information is available at www.aspree.org.

    June 14, 2017, 5:00pm EDT

  • May 10, 2017

    Recent increases in the volume and complexity of CMS data use arrangements as well as new scientific opportunities pointed out by BSR’s recent Data Infrastructure Review provided the opportunity to update the responsibilities of the Office of Research Resources (ORR).

    Check out ORR's new page!

  • April 27, 2017

    An international team of researchers, including scientists from NIA’s Intramural Research Program, have identified an important new genetic variant that increases risk for two autoimmune diseases: multiple sclerosis (MS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus). The results were reported in the New England Journal of Medicine on April 27, 2017. The study was led by Dr. Francesco Cucca, director of the Institute of Genetic and Biomedical Research of the Italian National Research Council.

    MS and lupus are autoimmune diseases caused when a person’s immune system attacks their own normal tissues: the myelin coating of nerves is targeted in MS, while the skin, kidneys, and other organs are affected in lupus. While scientists have long suspected a genetic predisposition to risk for autoimmune disorders, this study is the first to identify a specific genetic variation that is associated with the two diseases.

    The researchers first performed a full genetic sequencing of more than 3,000 people with MS or lupus and a similar number of unaffected individuals in the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. Extensive characterization of the immune system was also performed on this group. The process was repeated in almost 22,000 case and control individuals from mainland Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Sweden, reproducing the original results.

    The research team found a correlation between a particular variant of the TNFSF13B gene and the development of the autoimmune diseases. The TNFSF13B gene produces the protein BAFF, the B-cell activating factor, which is needed for survival and growth of B cells, the cells in the body’s the immune system that protect against infections. The researchers found that while normal BAFF production is strongly suppressed by cellular factors, BAFF production driven by the genetic variant is not affected by these same factors. The resulting increase in BAFF leads to correspondingly higher numbers of B cells, elevated antibody production, and increased risk of autoimmunity.

    The researchers note that the findings validate BAFF as a possible drug target for MS, lupus, and possibly other autoimmune disorders. The identification of this variant at the population, cellular, and molecular levels also illustrates a new association of a TNFSF13B variant with autoimmunity. This discovery may help to optimize individual therapy for these diseases and aid in the development of new therapies.

    Reference: Overexpression of the cytokine BAFF and autoimmunity risk. Steri, M., et al. The New England Journal of Medicine, April 27, 2017.  

  • April 11, 2017

    As we age, we all face more health conditions and treatments. To ensure they are getting good health care, it’s important for older adults to communicate effectively with their doctors and healthcare professionals.  Help older adults make the most of their doctor’s appointments and communicate effectively with their healthcare providers with NIA’s Talking With Your Doctor Presentation Toolkit. Along with handouts, a slide presentation, and other speaker materials, this easy-to-use presentation, suitable for small or large community groups, features a new 20-minute video that explains everything older adults need to know to prepare for a visit and discuss issues with their doctor.

    Watch the new presentation video here:

    Click here to download the Presentation Toolkit. 

  • April 10, 2017

    Aging and Immunity Symposium
    May 10-11, 2017
    Rockville, MD

    This two-day symposium is co-sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. There is no charge to attend this meeting, but you must pre-register. Go to this site for more information and to register.

    The symposium will feature an international faculty who will discuss such issues as

    • Aging of stem cells, precursor immune cells and tissue
    • Epigenetic regulation of aging immune cells
    • Aging and metabolism
    • Infectious diseases and vaccines in the elderly
    • Inflammatory and autoimmune disorders in the elderly
    • Longitudinal studies of aging
    • Aging and cancer
    • Interventions to reverse the aging immune system 
  • April 6, 2017

    The National Institute on Aging “Nutritional Interventions to Promote Healthy Aging” workshop explores research needs and opportunities for research relating to possible human intervention studies on different nutritional interventions that might extend longevity and/or health span. The primary focus of the workshop will be on human studies, but it will also consider needs for laboratory animal studies that could inform the design of human studies on this topic.

    Two principal topics addressed are a) implications for further studies based on results from the CALERIE trial of caloric restriction in humans and other recent human weight loss studies, and b) potential human intervention studies of alternative dietary regimens (e.g., amino acid restriction, intermittent fasting, modified macronutrient intake and/or nutrient sources, circadian timing of food intake) which have been shown to affect aging-related outcomes in laboratory animals and/or short-term human studies.

    Find out more or register now.

  • April 4, 2017

    Why does the chance of getting cancer increase as we age? A long-standing hypothesis, supported by compelling evidence in the past several decades, implicates the accumulation over time of damage to cells, organelles, and biomolecules as an underlying cause of aging. This accumulated biomolecular damage, particularly that affecting DNA, along with cells’ declining ability to repair DNA as a person ages, may also lead to cancer, according to the theory.

    Now, a new NIA-funded study in mice and tissue-cultured cells suggests a new and plausible explanation of why the ability of cells to repair DNA declines with age. Researchers led by Dr. Jun Li in Dr. David Sinclair’s lab at Harvard Medical School reported that decreasing levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), an essential cofactor that regulates key signaling pathways and declines with age, may affect cellular DNA repair. The findings of this study were published in Science on March 24, 2017.

    The researchers investigated whether NAD+ levels can affect DNA repair through poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1). Both PARP1 and NAD+ bind to the same domain of another protein, DBC1 (Deleted in Breast Cancer 1), and compete with each other for the binding site on the DBC1 protein. The direct binding of NAD+ prevents DBC1 from forming an inhibitory complex with the DNA-repair protein PARP1. Thus, as NAD+ levels decrease with age, more DBC1 protein is left to bind to PARP1, leading to less free PARP1 to repair damaged DNA.

    The researchers also found that NAD+ regulates the interaction of DBC1 and PARP1 through a non-enzymatic function, which is different from most other functions of NAD+. One advantage of this function is that it allows a cell to adapt to fluctuations in NAD+ levels without consuming it. This is particularly important when NAD+ is scarce, which occurs under conditions of genotoxic stress. The study results also suggest that interventions aimed at improving NAD+ levels may help protect against cancer and DNA damage caused by radiation or chemotherapy, or slow some aspects of aging.

    Reference: Li, J., et al. A conserved NAD+ binding pocket that regulates protein-protein interactions during aging. Science. 2017 Mar 24;355(6331):1312-1317. doi: 10.1126/science.aad8242.

  • March 31, 2017

    The National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) along with our organizing committee are planning a meeting on “Aging of the Immune System” that will take place near the NIH campus in Rockville, MD on May 10-11th, 2017.

    This will be the 4th meeting organized on immunosenescence by our committee.  The web site includes information on the agenda, poster session and abstract submission dates (March 31), hotel reservations, and other pertinent information. Please note that there is still space available for the poster session and abstracts are due on March 31 if you would like to present your research. Abstract submission is not required to attend the meeting and as registration is filling quickly, please register online.

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