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The NIH Almanac

Recent Photos from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

2013 Photos

microscopic image of fibroblasts.NIH scientists began a clinical trial in January 2013, to test whether the drug cyclodextrin could be used as a possible treatment for a rare and fatal genetic disease, called Niemann-Pick disease type C1 (NPC). Scientists from the NIHís National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) are conducting the clinical trial at the NIH Clinical Center. Reaching this stage required collaboration among government, industry, patient advocacy groups and academic researchers. In the image on the left, fibroblasts homozygous for mutations in NPC1 demonstrate an increased accumulation of red Lysotracker staining indicative of the storage disease. On the right, addition of cyclodextran rescues this lysosomal storage defect. (Zheng lab, NCATS Photo)
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Computer generated illustration of exRNA.The National Institutes of Health awarded $17 million in 2013 for 24 research projects designed to improve scientistsí understanding of a newly discovered type of cell-to-cell communication based on extracellular (outside the cell) RNA, also called exRNA. Through these awards, scientists are exploring basic exRNA biology and developing tools and technologies that apply new knowledge about exRNA to the research, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. ExRNAs move in body fluids including fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, urine, and blood. (NIH Common Fund Photo)
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Microscopic image of cellsScientists at the National Institutes of Health have used RNA interference (RNAi) technology to identify dozens of genes which may represent new therapeutic targets for treating Parkinsonís disease. The findings also may be relevant to several diseases caused by damage to mitochondria, the biological power plants found in cells throughout the body. NIH scientists used RNAi to find genes that interact with parkin (green), a protein that tags damaged mitochondria (red). Mutations in parkin are linked to Parkinsonís disease and other mitochondrial disorders. (Youle lab, NINDS Photo)
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Computer generated illustration of cytoplasm.Scientists have harnessed the power of RNA interference to study the function of many individual genes by reducing their activity levels, or silencing them. This process enables researchers to identify genes and molecules that are linked to particular diseases. To do this, researchers use small interfering RNAs, which are RNA molecules that have a complementary chemical makeup, or sequence, to that of a targeted gene. While the gene is silenced, researchers look for changes in cell function to learn about what it normally does. By silencing genes in the cell one at a time, scientists can explore and understand their complex relationship to other genes. (Arkitek Photo)
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2012 Photos

Image of the NPC logo. The NCATS Pharmaceutical Collection, also known as the NIH Chemical Genomics Center Pharmaceutical Collection, is a comprehensive, publicly accessible collection of approved and investigational molecular entities for high-throughput screening that provides a valuable resource for both validating new models of disease and better understanding the molecular basis of disease pathology and intervention. NCATS provides access to its set of approved drugs and bioactives through the Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases program and as part of the compound collection for the Tox21 Initiative, a collaborative effort for toxicity screening among several government agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Toxicology Program, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Image by Darryl Leja, NHGRI)
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Graph showing the therapeutic development pipeline.The process of testing and approving drugs is broken into four phases: drug discovery, preclinical testing, clinical trials and FDA review. Due to high attrition rates, mainly during preclinical translation, bringing one new drug to market comes at a high cost in terms of time and resources, and in the human cost to patients and their families. One drug typically involves the investigation of up to 10,000 compounds and takes about 14 years to be approved. NCATS aims to eliminate the bottlenecks in the translation process.
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Image of Cancer cells.A research team, supported in part by a Penn State University Clinical and Translational Science Institute pilot grant award and research funding from the National Cancer Institute, has developed a promising cancer-fighting strategy for "reactivating" genes that cause cancer tumors to shrink and die. The discovery may aid in the development of an innovative anti-cancer drug that effectively targets unhealthy, cancerous tissue without damaging healthy, non-cancerous tissue and vital organs. (National Cancer Institute Photo)
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Image from the  Tissue Chip for Drug Screening initiative.Combining microfabrication techniques with modern tissue engineering, the lung-on-a-chip, designed by the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, offers a new in vitro approach to drug screening by mimicking the complicated mechanical and biochemical behaviors of a human lung. The lung-on-a-chip work was supported by NIH Common Fund and FDA. (The Human-on-a-Chip work at the Wyss Institute is funded by DARPA.)
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Photo of recipients of the 2012 mid-Atlantic regional Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer Awards.Several recipients of the 2012 mid-Atlantic regional Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer Award (left to right): Lili Portilla, M.P.A., acting director of the NCATS Office of Policy, Communications and Strategic Alliances; Elizabeth Ottinger, Ph.D., TRND project manager at NCATS; Alan Hubbs, Ph.D., technology transfer specialist at the National Cancer Institute; Forbes Porter, M.D., Ph.D., clinical director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and team lead for the project; and Steven Silber, M.D., vice president of established products, and Mark Kao, Ph.D., team lead in preclinical development drug safety sciences at J&J Pharmaceutical Research & Development, LLC.
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Photo of Christopher P. Austin, M.D.On September 14, 2012, NIH Director Francis S. Collins announced the appointment of Christopher P. Austin, M.D., as director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Austin succeeded former acting director of NCATS and current director of the National Institute of Mental Health Thomas R. Insel, M.D., on September 23, 2012. (Photo by Bill Branson)
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Photo of a man and woman looking at a chest xray.Patients with a rare type of the deadly lung disorder cystic fibrosis may be able to breathe easier thanks to a new drug that targets the defective protein causing the disease. Researchers from 13 universities and hospitals, including 10 CTSA institutions, partnered with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the drug manufacturer Vertex Pharmaceuticals to conduct clinical trials and obtain FDA approval for the drug Kalydeco as a new treatment.)
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A technician in an NCATS chemistry laboratory.A technician in an NCATS chemistry laboratory advancing a chemical probe through analog synthesis.
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This page last reviewed on March 18, 2014

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