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Novel biomarkers of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). (Fellowships, Grants, & Awards).

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) invites applications for research grants to identify novel biomarkers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a complex group of conditions associated with progressive airway obstruction for which no disease-modifying therapy is currently known. The purpose of this request for applications (RFA) is to promote the identification and characterization of biomarkers that might eventually be useful for studies of COPD pathogenesis, diagnosis, therapeutic stratification of patients, or testing of potential drug treatments. Such biomarkers might reflect the presence or severity of COPD, the rate of disease progression, or exacerbations of the disease. A variety of techniques might be employed, ranging from chemical assays of exhaled air condensate, to proteomic analysis of blood, to functional imaging of lungs by positron emission tomography. The focus of this RFA is on novel biomarkers for COPD that can be determined by minimally invasive means.

Proposed studies must involve characterizations of human subjects and must include individuals who have COPD. Studies of individuals with alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency will be allowed. It is expected that studies will attempt to correlate particular biomarkers with specific aspects of COPD.

Measurements of multiple biomarkers in individual subjects and testing of multivariate correlations are encouraged. However, applicants should explain their rationale for the choice of each putative biomarker, clearly define the aspect of COPD that is hypothesized to be correlated with the biomarker, and justify the selection of the human subjects to be studied in the context of the underlying hypothesis. Plans for subject recruitment and characterization should be described in detail. The use of previously characterized cohorts of subjects is encouraged, particularly for studies attempting to correlate biomarkers with the rate of disease progression.

It is recognized that certain characterizations of human subjects that might be obtained through this RFA could also serve as phenotypes in studies testing associations of candidate gene polymorphisms with COPD. While it is not the intent of this RFA to support genetic studies, funds may be requested for the collection and storage of DNA specimens. Funds will not be provided for genotyping of study participants. Any applicant wishing to make use of this option must describe briefly the planned use of study data and DNA specimens, specify what costs for DNA collection and storage are included in the proposed budget, and obtain institutional review board approval for the collection and storage of these biological specimens.

The NHLBI intends to commit approximately $3.5 million in fiscal year 2002 to fund 8-10 new grants in response to this RFA. An applicant may request a project period of up to four years and a budget for direct costs of up to $350,000 per year.

The deadline for letters of intent is 25 January 2002, with final applications due 26 February 2002. This RFA will use the NIH Research Project (R01) award mechanism. Further information is available online at rfa-files/RFA-HL-02-005.html.

Contact: Tom Croxton, Division of Lung Diseases, NHLBI, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 10208, MSC 7952, Bethesda, MD 20892-7952 USA, 301-435-0202, fax: 301-480-3557, e-mail: Reference: RFA No. RFA-HL-02-005
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Publication:Environmental Health Perspectives
Date:Oct 1, 2001
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