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December 2014 ACTS Connection
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Translational Science 2015 is Coming Up!




It's time again to mark your calendar for the annual Translational Science 2015 meeting to be held in April 2015! Registration is open and hotel rooms are already available at the discounted rate.

This year's meeting focuses on engagement opportunities with leaders and peers, and important messages from plenary speakers. Educational sessions are designed to provide information on the latest translational science information. Collaborate and share information through poster presentations, mock study sections, advocacy training, and discussion on published research. The meeting provides trainees and young investigators an opportunity to gain visibility as well as meet one on one with NIH Program Directors.

Mark your calendars!
Where: Omni Shoreham Hotel
2500 Calvert Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
When: April 16, 2015 through April 18, 2015

Translational Science 2015 is jointly sponsored by the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) and American Federation for Medical Research (AFMR).
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Present Your Research at Translational Science 2015-Abstracts being Accepted Now!

We are now accepting abstracts for consideration from all levels of training.

Submitting an abstract at a national meeting builds collaborations, offers national visibility, and presents an entree for dialog with experienced investigators.

Prepare your abstract submission for one of the following categories:

  • Best Practices/Resources
  • Clinical Epidemiology
  • Clinical Trial
  • Ethics
  • Health Services Research
  • Methodology
  • Outcomes Research
  • Mechanistic Basic to Clinical
  • and MORE!
Don't miss your opportunity to be seen and heard! Abstracts accepted until January 20, 2015.
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News from ACTS


Want to Get Involved in ACTS? Nominate! Help Shape the Future of Your Association.
News from The Hill
Advocate and Be Involved!

Translational Science News


Proposed Rules Will Vastly Expand Trove of Clinical Trial Data Reported in U.S. Database
'Tissue Chip' to Screen Neurological Toxins
HemoShear and Children's National Health System to Unveil New Paradigm for Accelerating Rare Disease Drug Discovery
Monitoring Progress in Translational Bioinformatics
How Lobbying for Rare Disease Research Influences Congress and NIH

Grant Opportunities


Mentored Career Development Award to Promote Faculty Diversity in Biomedical Research (K01)
NIDCD Research Career Transition Award for Nurturing Clinician-Investigators (K22)
Breast Cancer Research Foundation-American Association for Cancer Research Career Development Awards for Translational Breast Cancer Research
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Translational Research Grant
ASGE Endoscopic Research Awards
Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract Mentored Research Award


News from ACTS


Want to Get Involved in ACTS? Nominate! Help Shape the Future of Your Association.

The ACTS Board of Directors is seeking qualified candidates to fill five Director-at-Large positions. All ACTS members in good standing are eligible to serve or to make a nomination.

The Board is a dedicated team of leaders responsible for carrying out the Association’s mission and goals and acting in the best interest of the Association’s members. To view the job descriptions for open Board of Directors positions, click here .

Find out who is is eligible and how to make a nomination by going to the
ACTS website.
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News from The Hill

Congress returned from the Thanksgiving congressional recess and began working to finalize an omnibus appropriations package for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. The omnibus appropriations package will include funding for:

• The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
• The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
• Key programs, including CTSAs, RCMI, and IDeA

The clinical and translational research community remains hopeful that Congress will ultimately provide meaningful funding increases for NIH, AHRQ, and programs of value in FY 2015. If Congress is unable to reach agreement on a final spending measure, NIH, AHRQ, and key programs may end up on a continuing resolution that will provide them with level funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. Under this outcome, key programs will continue to lose purchasing power and it will be increasingly difficult to secure funding for innovative research projects.

Next year, legislators will be addressing many federal funding and policy issues that directly impact clinical and translational research, and training and career development. In short order, they will need to raise the debt ceiling, address sequestration, and provide funding for FY 2016.
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Advocate and Be Involved!

The 114th Congress will soon be in office. Many of these legislators are newly elected and may not have a good enough understanding of clinical and translational research to provide appropriate support. Consider becoming a volunteer advocate and educate your elected officials about the local and national impact of your research and training activities. There are numerous opportunities to make a difference:

• Participate in our Capitol Hill Advocacy Day during the Translational Science 2015 Meeting
• Invite your legislators to visit your campus
• Join our volunteer advocacy group, the Coalition for Clinical and Translational Science

For information on how to be involved, reach out to the Coalition for Clinical and Translational Science here.

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Translational Science News


Proposed Rules Will Vastly Expand Trove of Clinical Trial Data Reported in U.S. Database

The Health and Human Services (HHS) Department has issued a proposed plan to make sure that all summary results for drugs that fail in trials, or are otherwise dropped, are still listed in ClinicalTrials.gov. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins said that sharing these findings will help researchers and also "helps fulfill society’s ethical responsibility" to people who volunteer for trials. We owe to our patients, to our participants in these trials, the explanation of what happened." Including this information may also help to avoid duplicating failed trials. The public database of clinical trial information, which was launched in 2000, now includes registration data for more than 178,000 trials. All sponsors of trials regulated by the Food and Drug Administration are expected to register; however, currently only drugs and devices approved by the agency must comply with the summary results requirement. Under the proposed HHS rule, results will also have to be reported for unapproved products--which will at least double the 100 summaries the database currently receives each week. In addition, NIH plans to mandate that results for all clinical trials that it supports be submitted to ClinicalTrials.gov. A new draft policy could lead to the addition of results for another 650 trials annually, according to NIH officials. Public comment on both the HHS and NIH policies is being accepted until Feb. 19, 2015.

From "Proposed Rules Will Vastly Expand Trove of Clinical Trial Data Reported in U.S. Database"
ScienceMag (11/19/2014) Kaiser, Jocelyn
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'Tissue Chip' to Screen Neurological Toxins

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW Madison) and the Morgridge Institute for Research are working to develop a faster, less-expensive screening method for neural toxins. This team is one of 11 universities receiving support from the National Institutes of Health as part of the Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program. Under the next phase of the program, researchers will refine existing 3-D human tissue chips and integrate them into a system that can mimic the functions of the human body. So far, the UW-Madison team has successfully prompted human pluripotent stem cell-derived neural progenitor cells to grow in a 3-D hydrogel environment, after which the cells differentiate and mature into complex neural tissues. These "microenvironments" are about one-fifth the circumference of a dime and can assemble into 3-D tissue models that mimic the function of the developing brain. Along with the biological work, the team also is testing a machine-learning algorithm that can predict toxic responses to compounds added to these environments. Christopher P. Austin, director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, says that human tissue chip technology could lead to faster, more cost-effective ways of predicting the failure or success of drugs before they enter human trials.

From "'Tissue Chip' to Screen Neurological Toxins"
domain-B (11/29/14)
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HemoShear and Children's National Health System to Unveil New Paradigm for Accelerating Rare Disease Drug Discovery

Representatives from HemoShear and Children's National Health System (CNHS) have introduced a new paradigm for discovering new rare disease treatments in less time and with more success. This involves a combination of CNHS' knowledge of disease genetics and access to patients, with HemoShear's translational rare-disease tissue systems. At the sixth annual Partnering for Cures conference in New York City, Dr. Marshall Summar, division chief of genetics and metabolism at CNHS, and Dr. Brian Wamhoff, vice president of R&D and co-founder of HemoShear, described how the combined resources could help uncover the biology of liver-focused rare diseases and to predict patient responses to new drug candidates. Summar and Wamhoff presented the Rare Disease Drug Discovery Accelerator at the conference on Nov. 18. "Our ability to accurately recreate liver rare diseases will be a major step forward in accelerating discovery and development of new treatments," said Dr. Wamhoff. "With the HemoShear platform, we expect to be able to unmask meaningful mechanisms behind these diseases, identify new targets and new drug candidates, and accelerate translation of optimal candidates into the clinic for children in need."

From "HemoShear and Children's National Health System to Unveil New Paradigm for Accelerating Rare Disease Drug Discovery"
PR Newswire (11/17/14)
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Monitoring Progress in Translational Bioinformatics

As part of the American Medical Informatics Association's "Joint Summits on Translational Science," Russ Altman presents a review of translational bioinformatics, summarizing notable papers from the past 12-14 months. Popular topics for this year were controversies, clinical genomics, drugs, the genetic basis of disease, and emerging data sources. Based on his observations, Altman predicts that new studies will begin to expand diversity in their patient groups, with more emphasis on populations of non-European descent for discovery of disease associations. Altman also predicts that there will be an expanded use of "trained systems," such as IBM Watson, in the field. In addition, he expects a "crowd-based discovery in translational bioinformatics," more evidence for cost-effectiveness associated with genomic medicine, and the emergence of powerful methods that focus on connecting genes, targets, and drug response.

From "Monitoring Progress in Translational Bioinformatics"
PLoS Blogs (11/13/2014) Altman, Russ
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How Lobbying for Rare Disease Research Influences Congress and NIH

Patient advocates often call on Congress to allocate more funds to fight rare diseases, and new research suggests that lobbying by private groups can make a difference. The study, published in Management Science, found that every dollar spent on lobbying generated congressional support through soft earmarks in appropriations bills that encourage spending but are not law. Increased lobbying between 1998 and 2008 accompanied an increase in the number of soft earmarks attributed to the lobbying. The pattern also extended to National Institutes of Health (NIH) allocations for research grant solicitations. However, lobbying on behalf of rare disease research may only affect a small portion of such federal funding. The study found that the share of NIH rare-disease funding attributed to soft earmarks ranged from only 3 percent to 15 percent. While some critics say that that lobbying can divert funds from other areas of promising research, study co-author Deepak Hegde, assistant professor of management and organizations at the New York University Stern School of Business, says that lobbying can also alert Congress to the impact of rare diseases on society.

From "How Lobbying for Rare Disease Research Influences Congress and NIH"
Wall Street Journal (11/13/14) Silverman, Ed
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Grant Opportunities


Mentored Career Development Award to Promote Faculty Diversity in Biomedical Research (K01)

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has issued a funding opportunity announcement aimed at increasing the number of highly trained investigators from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in research. The Mentored Career Development Award to Promote Faculty Diversity in Biomedical Research (K01) is intended for individuals whose basic, clinical, and translational research interests are grounded in the advanced methods and experimental approaches needed to solve problems related to cardiovascular, pulmonary, and hematologic diseases and sleep disorders in the general and health disparities populations. NHLBI plans to fund as many as 10 awards in fiscal years 2016, 2017, and 2018, with $1.5 million per fiscal year. Applications for the first cycle are due by Feb. 18, 2015, with a letter of intent due 30 days prior.

From "Mentored Career Development Award to Promote Faculty Diversity in Biomedical Research (K01)"
NIH Grants (11/25/14)
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NIDCD Research Career Transition Award for Nurturing Clinician-Investigators (K22)

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) has issued a funding opportunity announcement to support the early-stage research career development of new and recently appointed clinician faculty members with limited research training and experience who plan to establish an independent research career path at academic institutions. The objective of the NIDCD Research Career Transition Award for Nurturing Clinician-Investigators (K22) is to provide successful applicants with the knowledge and research experience to help them develop an NIDCD mentored clinician-scientist development (K08/K23) award application that is competitive for funding. The NIDCD intends to commit $750,000 per year in FY2015-2017 to fund up to five awards per year. Applications for the first cycle are due by Feb. 2, 2015.

From "NIDCD Research Career Transition Award for Nurturing Clinician-Investigators (K22)"
NIH Grants (11/21/14)
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Breast Cancer Research Foundation-American Association for Cancer Research Career Development Awards for Translational Breast Cancer Research

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the American Association for Cancer Research are offering Cancer Research Career Development Awards for Translational Breast Cancer Research. The awards represent a joint effort to promote and support innovative research aimed at speeding the discovery, development, and application of new treatments for breast cancer. The funding is available to junior faculty who, at the start of the grant term, will have completed their more recent doctoral degree or medical residency within the last 11 years. It is expected that two awards will be funded, each providing $138,000 over two years. Applications are due by Jan. 20, 2015.

From "Breast Cancer Research Foundation-American Association for Cancer Research Career Development Awards for Translational Breast Cancer Research"
Breast Cancer Research Foundation/American Association for Cancer Research (11/19/14)
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Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Translational Research Grant

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is offering a grant in support of translational research that has as its endpoint the development of a pancreatic cancer assessment, prevention, or treatment modality. Applications from independent investigators are welcome, and collaborations between basic and clinical scientists are encouraged. The network notes, however, that fundamental discovery or basic science research projects are not qualified. Applications for the two-year, $300,000 grant are due by Jan. 30, 2015.

From "Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Translational Research Grant"
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (11/19/14)
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ASGE Endoscopic Research Awards

The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) has announced its Endoscopic Research Awards, which support investigators working on projects in basic, translational, and clinical research in endoscopy. In particular, the ASGE is interested in endoscopic research related to: colorectal cancer, Barrett's esophagus, training/credentialing/simulation, issues specific to under-represented minorities, measuring/improving quality and efficiency, endoscope reprocessing and infection control, endoscopy/anesthesia monitoring and preparation, comparative effectiveness, NOTES, novel endoscopic treatments for obesity, endoscopic ultrasound, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, and other endoscopically-guided imaging/intervention. The maximum grant request is for $75,000, for a period no longer than two years. Applications are due by Jan. 30, 2015.

From "ASGE Endoscopic Research Awards"
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (11/19/2014)
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Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract Mentored Research Award

The Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT) is offering the Mentored Research Award. The one-year research fellowship is directed at a resident or fellow to support the second or third year or research being conducted in the research program of an SSAT member. According to the SSAT, the supported research program can be in clinical and translational research, outcome and health services research, or basic science investigation. Eligible applicants are surgeons who have spent at least six months working as a full-time research fellow in the research program of an SSAT member. The award provides $25,000 help defray support costs, such as salary and direct expenses. Applications are due by March 13, 2015.

From "Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract Mentored Research Award"
Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (11/19/14)
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