NIAID Announces 25 New Awards to Develop
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID),
part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded 25 new grants
to develop new and better diagnostics and treatments for radiation
exposure after a nuclear attack. Several of these grants were awarded
under Project Bioshield Authority, legislation that enables NIAID
within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to use
a rapid award process to help stimulate research on medical countermeasures
against chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) threats.
In the event of a nuclear attack, people exposed to radiation
would suffer from injuries to important tissues and organs, such
as the skin, lungs, blood cells, nervous system and digestive tract.
The severity of these injuries would vary. Proper diagnosis and
prompt treatment of those affected is a key issue.
"These 25 new awards will help seed basic science research
in areas of radiation exposure after nuclear attack that are not
currently being addressed," says Richard Hatchett, M.D., associate
director of Radiation Countermeasures Research and Emergency Preparedness
In 2005 Congress identified the need to the expand research on
countermeasures against CBRN threats and gave funding to HHS specifically
for this purpose. HHS assigned NIAID the leadership role in managing
basic research efforts to develop medical treatments and diagnostics
for CBRN threats, and NIAID and the Biodefense Advanced Research
and Development Authority collaborate to promote product development
of promising candidate countermeasures. NIAID also works closely
with the Food and Drug Administration for regulation and approval
of all countermeasures developed to protect citizens against these
According to Dr. Hatchett, the new awards support both focused
and investigator-initiated projects intended to increase the current
understanding about radiation damage to the body after a radiological
or nuclear attack.
Five investigators have received grants from NIAID, estimated
to be up to $4 million over 18 months, via the Project BioShield
Authority rapid award program, to explore methods or treatments
to enhance blood platelet regeneration after radiation exposure.
The investigators awarded these grants are as follows:
- Amelia M. Bartholomew, M.D., University of Illinois at Chicago,
- George Georges, M.D. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center,
- Andrei V. Gudkov, Ph.D., Cleveland Biolabs, Inc., Buffalo,
- Holger Karsunky, Ph.D., Cellerant Therapeutics, Inc., San Carlos,
- Kathleen E. Rodgers, Ph.D., University of Southern California,
In addition to the Project BioShield awards, NIAID has funded
10 investigator-initiated grants focused on improving the diagnosis
and treatment of individuals exposed to radiation. These five-year
awards are estimated to be up to $4 million for the first year.
The recipients are as follows:
- R. Shane Addleman, D.Sc., Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories,
- Susan M. Bailey, Ph.D., Colorado State University, Fort Collins
- Tao Cheng, M.D., University of Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh, PA
- David G. Kirsch, M.D., Ph.D., Duke University, Durham, NC
- Andrei V. Gudkov, Ph.D., Roswell Park Cancer Institute Corporation,
- James Palis, M.D., University of Rochester, NY
- Amanda G. Paulovich, M.D., Ph.D., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research
Center, Seattle, WA
- Gabor J. Tigyi, M.D., Ph.D., University of Tennessee Health
Science Center, Memphis
- Marcel R.M. van den Brink, M.D., Ph.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering
Institute for Cancer Research, New York, NY
- Daohong Zhou, M.D., Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
A new area of investigation being supported by NIAID is "radiation
combined injury." If a nuclear weapon attack were to occur
in the United States, the wounded would also be expected to have
other injuries such as burns, trauma or infections, in addition
to radiation exposure. However, research in the area of radiation
combined injury has been lacking.
The NIAID initiative will help stimulate research in the area
of treating people with radiation combined injuries. Ten grants,
estimated to be up to $2 million over five years, have been awarded
to the following investigators:
- Shyam Biswal, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
- Nelson J. Chao, M.D., Duke University, Durham, NC
- John R. Fike, Ph.D., University of California San Francisco
- M. Waleed Gaber, Ph.D., and Duane D. Miller, Ph.D., University
of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis
- Juliann G. Kiang, Ph.D., Armed Forced Radiobiology Research
Institute, Bethesda, MD
- Elizabeth J. Kovacs, Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago, IL
- James A. Lederer, Ph.D., Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston,
- David M. Rocke, Ph.D., and R. Rivkah Isseroff, M.D., University
of California Davis
- Ping Wang, M.D., Feinstein Institute for Medical Research,
- Hartmut Weiler, Ph.D., Blood Center of Wisconsin, Incorporated,
Through these combined efforts, NIAID and HHS hope to accelerate
the development of medical countermeasures against radiation exposure
to help the public health community successfully protect and treat
people in the event of a nuclear terrorist attack.
NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout
the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of
infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better
means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News
releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available
on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers
and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic,
clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates
the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.
For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
Award descriptions can be found on the NIAID Web site under "Expired"