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Scientific Resources

From mouse to medicine: Improving preclinical research in Alzheimer's disease

Lorenzo REFOLO, Program Officer, Division of Neuroscience (DN)

Alzheimer’s drug discovery and development is not for the fainthearted. It’s extremely expensive and time-consuming, and the possibility of disappointment looms at every phase of discovery. According to one analysis, half of candidate therapies fail during preclinical research—the phase when important information on feasibility, testing, and drug safety is collected. And, if a promising therapy does advance to a clinical trial, another recent analysis indicates there’s a 98 percent failure rate during phase II and III, primarily due to lack of efficacy.

An early-warning system for researchers

Marie BERNARD, Deputy Director, Office of the Director (OD)

Researchers often complain to us that new funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) scoot past them, lost in the blizzard of information that arrives daily. Unless you obsessively monitor the NIH Guide—which we’re not necessarily recommending—you may not see every new announcement that NIA publishes. And, unless you have a well-thought-out research proposal outlined and ready to commit to paper, it sometimes can be difficult to pull together a grant application in the time allowed.

Health ABC data now available through NIA website

Tamara HARRIS, Medical Officer, Epidemiology & Pop Science Lab (EPSL)

We are excited to let you know that NIA has a resource for investigators seeking to analyze biomedical data. The Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study began in 1997 and collected data for 17 years on a cohort of older black and white adults living in Memphis and Pittsburgh. Participants were aged 70-79 at baseline. These data are now online on NIA’s website and available to qualified researchers. We invite you to take a look!

Increasing the usability of big data for Alzheimer's research

Suzana PETANCESKA, Program Officer, Division of Neuroscience (DN)

On October 11, 2016, the first manuscript describing a treasure trove of genomic data contributed by members of the Accelerating Medicines Partnership for Alzheimer’s Disease (AMP-AD) Target Discovery and Preclinical Validation Consortium was published in Nature Scientific Data. The publication of the datasets and their description are part of an NIH-wide effort to bring together big data and experts from diverse disciplines to better understand dementia, as well as other chronic conditions.

A crash course for clinical specialists

Susan ZIEMAN, Medical Officer, Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology (DGCG)

On September 21–23, 2016 almost 100 physicians and researchers attended the second biennial GEMSSTAR Scholars Conference, “Models and Studies of Aging,” here in Bethesda. The meeting was sponsored by a U13 conference grant from the NIA to the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), with additional support from the John A. Hartford Foundation.

The NIA Clinical Trial Toolbox: A resource for quality studies

Sergei ROMASHKAN, Chief, Clinical Trials Branch, Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology (DGCG)

So you think you want to conduct a clinical trial? Of course, it’s a very complex undertaking. Each stage requires you to comply with regulatory and research standards. And from scientific protocols to procedural manuals, several key documents drive both trial operations and protocol compliance. I’m pleased to let you know that NIA has come up with one way to help you streamline study start-up and adhere to standards.

Meet the director of the Division of Neuroscience

Eliezer MASLIAH, Director, Division of Neuroscience (DN)

On July 18, NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes announced that Dr. Eliezer Masliah had been appointed director of the Division of Neuroscience. Dr. Masliah was previously at the University of California, San Diego and a member of the National Advisory Council on Aging. “Inside NIA” sat down with Dr. Masliah to talk about his research plans for the division.

 

Go4Life – Maintaining good health and function

Chhanda DUTTA, Chief, Clinical Gerontology Branch, Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology (DGCG)

This month, NIA is celebrating our second annual Go4Life Month. As part of that celebration, we’re reaching out to our Go4Life® partners and the research community to help us find ways to encourage older people to exercise and lead healthy, active lives. This year’s theme is “Fit4Function.” So what is Fit4Function all about, anyway?

Reproducibility: Another bureaucratic speed bump?

John WILLIAMS, Health Scientist Administrator, Division of Aging Biology (DAB)

So you thought your science was already rigorous and reproducible…

Last fall, NIH released new guidelines for implementing rigor and transparency in research project grants. Applications for research grants and mentored career development awards submitted in 2016 must include information on scientific rigor and reproducibility. What’s going on?