It was great to see so many of you at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference last month! I was thrilled to catch up with colleagues, attend the special events, and learn about many new Alzheimer’s research findings. In case you missed it, NIA and the Alzheimer’s Association hosted a pre-conference symposium: “Enabling Precision Medicine for Alzheimer’s Disease Through Open Science.”
If we roll back the clock 12 months, we’ll see that, back then, NIA issued a call for administrative supplements for existing NIA grantees to add an aim on Alzheimer’s disease (and its related dementias) to a grant that was not already studying Alzheimer’s or its related dementias. This year, we decided to open the field up a little and include other NIH institutes.
March Madness—a time for bracket busting and bragging rights, Cinderella stories and unexpected outcomes. And, so it goes in NIA-supported research, too! We in the Division of Behavioral and Social Research have been developing our game in new directions—funding more research in Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias (AD/ADRD).
The NIA-supported Alzheimer’s Disease Centers (ADCs) have long been a crucial part of NIA’s overall Alzheimer’s disease program and have many accomplishments to their credit. During this time of expanding interest and support for Alzheimer’s research, NIA is introducing important changes to this Centers program.
A long story about a strange way to publish funding opportunities: Or, just another day at the office
Here we go again. Maybe. The U.S. House and Senate appropriations committees have written large increases into their appropriations bills for NIA—again in FY 2018—to expand research into Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias (AD/ADRD).
Among the initiatives launched under the 21st Century Cures Act, which brought us the Cancer Moonshot, the BRAIN initiative, and the All of Us precision medicine program, is the Regenerative Medicine Innovation Project (RMIP). NIH, in coordination with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is taking the lead on this exciting new venture, which seeks to accelerate clinical research on adult stem cells.
You may have already heard that the NIA has awarded a new cooperative agreement establishing the Alzheimer’s Clinical Trial Consortium (ACTC). We expect the ACTC to accelerate and expand studies for therapies in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. We hope you’ve also heard that the funding opportunity for ACTC trials is open. The first submission date for applications is March 29 and we strongly encourage interested investigators to reach out to the ACTC leadership and NIA well in advance.
In December 2016, the President signed the 21st Century Cures Act (P.L. 114-255)—legislation that included many components relevant to the NIH—into law. One requires the NIH to support and report on prize competitions in biomedical research that can advance a field and potentially improve health outcomes. NIA now stands ready to join the action, by initiating the first step in a prize for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) research.
The National Advisory Council on Aging met here on the NIH campus on September 26–27. Among several actions by the Council was the approval of eight new concepts for Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). The lively discussion around these concepts is always one of the highlights of this two-day meeting, with conversations and conjecture often continuing into the corridors.