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Chronology of Events
The Marine Hospital Service was established with the July 16 signing by President John Adams of an act for the relief of sick and disabled seamen.
An amending act of March 2 extended benefits of the Marine Hospital Service to officers and men of the U.S. Navy.
The admission of foreign seamen to Marine hospitals on a reimbursable basis was authorized on May 3.
The first permanent Marine hospital was authorized on May 3 to be built in Boston, Mass.
Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse was appointed physician in charge of the Boston Marine Hospital on November 27. He was the first to introduce interns and residents into hospitals in the United States.
The Library of the Office of the Surgeon General of the Army was established (the present National Library of Medicine).
John Shaw Billings, M.D., was assigned to supervise the Surgeon General's Library, which he built into a national resource of biomedical literature.
A bill dated June 29 provided for administration of Marine hospitals within a Bureau of the Treasury Department with a medical officer in charge.
Dr. John Maynard Woodworth was appointed supervising surgeon of the Marine Hospital Service in April, marking the beginning of central control of Marine hospitals.
Regulations were approved on December 1 for appointment and promotion of physicians in the Marine Hospital Service, establishing the first career service for civilian employees in the Federal Government.
A bill passed on March 3 authorized admission of Navy seamen and seamen of other government services to Marine hospitals on a reimbursable basis.
In recognition of Dr. Woodworth's progress in reorganizing the Marine Hospital Service, his title was changed by law to supervising Surgeon General on March 3.
The first Federal Quarantine Act was passed April 29.
On December 21, Congress appropriated funds "for investigating the origin and causes of epidemic diseases, especially yellow fever and cholera."
The National Board of Health was created by law on March 3. It represented the first organized, comprehensive, national medical research effort of the Federal Government.
Dr. John B. Hamilton was appointed Surgeon General of the Marine Hospital Service, April 3.
The seamen's hospital tax was abolished on July 1. The cost of maintaining Marine hospitals was paid out of a tonnage tax, which continued until 1906.
A bacteriological laboratory, known as the Laboratory of Hygiene, was established under Dr. Joseph J. Kinyoun at the Marine Hospital, Staten Island, N.Y., in August, for research on cholera and other infectious diseases (renamed Hygienic Laboratory in 1891.)
The commissioned corps was authorized on January 4 establishing by law the policy of a mobile corps subject to duty anywhere upon assignment.
Congress gave the Marine Hospital Service interstate quarantine authority on March 27.
The Hygienic Laboratory moved from Staten Island, N.Y., to the Butler Building, Service Headquarters, Washington, D.C., in June.
Dr. Walter Wyman was appointed Surgeon General of the Marine Hospital Service on June 1.
A new Quarantine Act, passed February 15, strengthened the Quarantine Act of 1878 and repealed the act establishing the National Board of Health.
The Marine Hospital Service was directed by Congress on March 2 to investigate leprosy in the United States.
Dr. Milton J. Rosenau succeeded Dr. Kinyoun as director of the Hygienic Laboratory on May 1.
The earliest studies of Rocky Mountain spotted fever took place in Montana.
A bill approved July 1 changed the name of the Marine Hospital Service to the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service and established an advisory board for the Hygienic Laboratory. It later became the National Advisory Health Council.
The 57th Congress enacted Public Law 244 to regulate the shipment of biologics. The technical responsibilities of the program were assigned to the Hygienic Laboratory.
The Advisory Board for the Biologics Control Division was established July 1.
The Pan American Sanitary Bureau was established December 2. The Public Health and Marine Hospital Service began international health cooperation.
The Hygienic Laboratory moved to a new building on a 5-acre tract at 25th and E Streets NW, Washington, D.C., on March 16.
Medical care for merchant seamen and other beneficiaries of the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service began to be supported by direct congressional appropriations, with the repeal of the tonnage tax on June 30.
Dr. John F. Anderson was appointed Hygienic Laboratory director on October 1.
Dr. Rupert Blue was appointed Surgeon General of the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service on January 13.
The name Public Health and Marine Hospital Service was changed to Public Health Service (PHS) on August 14, and the research program was expanded to include other-than-communicable diseases field investigations, navigable stream pollution, and information dissemination.
Dr. Joseph Goldberger announced his views of pellagra as a dietary deficiency, emphasizing the importance of dietary deficiency diseases.
Dr. George W. McCoy was appointed Hygienic Laboratory director on November 20.
The Chamberlain-Kahn Act, passed July 9, provided for the study of venereal diseases. The PHS made grants to 25 institutions, establishing a precedent for the Federal Government to seek assistance of scientists through grants.
The PHS reserve corps was established by law on October 27, during the influenza pandemic, as a means of coping with the emergencies.
Dr. Hugh Smith Cumming was appointed PHS Surgeon General on March 3.
The Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Laboratory was established in a former school building in Hamilton, Mont., on September 20 as a recognized PHS field station.
The Library of the Office of the Surgeon General (Army) was renamed the Army Medical Library in January.
A Special Cancer Investigations Laboratory was established by PHS investigators at Harvard Medical School on August 1.
On January 19, the Narcotics Control Act was passed, authorizing construction of two hospitals for drug addicts, and creation of a PHS Narcotics Division.
On April 9, the Advisory Board for the Hygienic Laboratory became the National Advisory Health Council.
On May 26 the Ransdell Act redesignated the Hygienic Laboratory as the National Institute of Health, authorizing $750,000 for construction of two buildings for NIH, and creating a system of fellowships.
On June 14, Public Law 357 authorized creation of a separate Bureau of Narcotics in the Treasury Department and changed the PHS Narcotics Division to the Division of Mental Hygiene. The law gave the Surgeon General authority to investigate the causes, treatment, and prevention of mental and nervous diseases.
A narcotic "farm" at Lexington, Ky., was completed and opened on May 29.
On August 10, Mr. and Mrs. Luke I. Wilson made a gift of 45 acres of their estate "Tree Tops" for use of the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD.
Title VI of the Social Security Act was passed August 14 authorizing the expenditure of up to $2 million on health grants to the states for "investigation of disease and problems of sanitation."
Dr. Thomas Parran was appointed PHS Surgeon General on April 6.
The Rocky Mountain Laboratory became part of the National Institute of Health in February, and was administratively made part of the Division of Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Lewis R. Thompson was appointed director of the National Institute of Health on February 1.
With the reorganization of the National Institute of Health into eight divisions, the biologics control program, previously the responsibility of the Division of Pathology and Bacteriology, NIH, was assigned to a newly established Division of Biologics Control (redesignated Biologics Control Laboratory, 1944).
The National Cancer Institute Act was signed on July 23.
The National Advisory Cancer Council recommended approval of the first awards for fellowships in cancer research on January 3.
Mrs. Luke I. Wilson made a second gift of 10.7 acres, to NIH on May 28.
The cornerstone for Building 1 was laid June 30.
Congress approved construction of new, larger laboratory facilities, and NIH moved to Bethesda, MD., in July.
Mrs. Luke I. Wilson made a third gift, 14.4 acres of land, to NIH on September 30.
The narcotics hospital at Fort Worth, Tex., was dedicated on October 28.
Under a Reorganization Act dated April 3, the PHS was transferred from the Treasury Department to the Federal Security Agency.
Mrs. Luke I. Wilson made a fourth gift, 11.6 acres of land, to NIH on September 27.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the buildings and the grounds of the National Institute of Health on October 31.
Dr. Rolla Eugene Dyer was appointed director of the National Institute of Health on February 1.
A final gift of land was made by Mrs. Luke I. Wilson on March 17 bringing the total to 92 acres. This was the nucleus of the present 306.4-acre reservation. Additional land was acquired through a series of purchases.
NIH was given bureau status in the PHS on November 11.
The PHS act was approved on July 1, consolidating and revising existing public health legislation, and giving NIH the legislative basis for its postwar program, with general authority to conduct research. Under this act NCI became a division of NIH.
The Research Grants Office was created at NIH in January to administer the Office of Scientific Research and Development projects transferred to the PHS at the end of World War II and to operate a program of extramural research grants and fellowship awards.
The National Mental Health Act was passed July 3.
On August 12, the Research Grants Office became the Research Grants Division (later renamed Division of Research Grants). The division was instructed by the National Advisory Health Council to establish study sections for scientific and technical review of research grant applications, and to explore neglected areas of research in the health sciences.
The Hospital Survey and Construction Act, introduced by Senators Lister Hill and Harold H. Burton, was passed on August 13, authorizing the Hill- Burton program.
Dr. Leonard A. Scheele was appointed PHS Surgeon General on April 6.
On June 16 the National Heart Act was signed. It authorized the National Heart Institute and changed the name of the National Institute of Health to National Institutes of Health.
The National Dental Research Act, passed June 24, authorized the National Institute of Dental Research.
The National Heart Institute was established August 1.
The National Institute of Dental Research was established September 16.
Construction of the Clinical Center was started in November.
The National Microbiological Institute and the Experimental Biology and Medicine Institute were established on November 1.
The Rocky Mountain Laboratory and Biologics Control Laboratory became two of the four components of the National Microbiological Institute on November 1.
The purchase of 115.8 acres from the Town & Country Golf Club, Inc., for $600,000 was concluded February 11.
The purchase of 47.9 acres of land from Mr. and Mrs. G. Freeland Peter for $505,000 was concluded on February 14.
The National Institute of Mental Health was established on April 15, with the abolishment of the Division of Mental Hygiene.
The first issue of The NIH Record was published May 20.
The purchase of 50.2 acres of land from the Sisters of the Visitation for $173,058 was concluded on June 28.
Dr. Frank B. Rogers became director of the Army Medical Library in October.
The Omnibus Medical Research Act, signed August 15, authorized the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness and the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases, the latter absorbing the Experimental Biology and Medicine Institute. The act also gave the Surgeon General authority to establish new institutes.
Dr. William H. Sebrell, Jr. was appointed NIH director on October 1.
The National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness and the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases were established November 22.
The first R. E. Dyer Lecture was given by Dr. George W. Beadle, California Institute of Technology, June 21.
President Harry S. Truman laid the Clinical Center cornerstone on June 22.
The Army Medical Library was renamed Armed Forces Medical Library in April.
The first NIH Lecture was given on January 21 by Dr. Severo Ochoa of New York University College of Medicine.
PHS became part of the newly created Department of Health, Education, and Welfare on April 11.
The Clinical Center was dedicated on July 2, extending the clinical dimension of PHS research programs.
The first patient was admitted to the Clinical Center on July 6.
A central data processing facility was established in the Office of the Director, NIH.
The NIH Graduate School Program began on September 27.
The biologics control function was placed in the newly formed Division of Biologics Standards in June. The Division of Research Services and Division of Business Operations were also formed.
The Cancer Chemotherapy National Service Center was established April 1 to coordinate the first national cancer chemotherapy program.
The Mental Health Study Act was passed July 28.
Dr. James A. Shannon was appointed NIH director on August 1.
The National Microbiological Institute became the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) by order of the Surgeon General on December 29. The Biologics Control Laboratory was detached from the institute and expanded to division status within NIH.
In January the biometric facility became the Biometrics Branch in the new Division of Research Services.
Dr. Leroy E. Burney was appointed PHS Surgeon General August 8.
The Armed Forces Medical Library was designated the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and placed under PHS October 1.
The Center for Aging Research was established November 27 as the focal center for NIH extramural activities in gerontology.
On July 16 the Division of General Medical Sciences was established by order of the Surgeon General, extending research into noncategorical areas covered until that time by the Division of Research Grants.
The Center for Aging Research was transferred from the National Heart Institute to the Division of General Medical Sciences on November 4.
The Office of Administrative Management was formed July 15, consolidating the Division of Business Operations and other managerial responsibilities.
Congress appropriated $2 million for the establishment of one or two private research centers on August 19.
On March 8 the Surgeon General approved establishment of a Computation and Data Processing Branch in the Division of Research Services.
NIH acquired 513 acres of farmland near Poolesville, MD., on May 6. This land became the site of the NIH Animal Center.
The International Health Research Act was passed July 12, extending NIH international programs.
The Surgeon General established the Center for Research in Child Health in the Division of General Medical Sciences on February 17.
Dr. Luther L. Terry was appointed PHS Surgeon General March 24.
On May 26, DHEW Secretary Abraham A. Ribicoff dedicated the new NIDR building.
The first Jules Freund Lecture was given by Dr. Merrill W. Chase of the Rockefeller Institute on November 15.
The NIH European Office was established in Paris, France, on December 18.
The NIH Latin American Office was established in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 1.
The Division of Research Facilities and Resources was established July 15.
Public Law 87-838, passed October 17, authorized the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
Five acres of land for a Gerontology Research Center were donated by the City of Baltimore in December.
The NIH Pacific Office was established in Tokyo, Japan, on January 1.
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences were established on January 30.
The Center for Research in Child Health and the Center for Research in Aging (established in 1956) were transferred from NIGMS to NICHD.
The surgical wing for the Clinical Center was dedicated September 5.
The first NIH International Lecture was given October 31 by Dr. Walsh McDermott of Cornell University Medical College.
The Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (MEDLARS) became operational at the NLM in January.
The Division of Computer Research and Technology was established on April 16.
On September 19 Congress authorized planning funds for a central environmental health research facility.
A special virus-leukemia program was initiated under a special appropriation, included in the FY 1965 appropriation signed into law on September 19.
On January 7, the Surgeon General announced that the National Environmental Health Sciences Center would be located in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
The NIH Animal Center, Poolesville, MD., officially opened May 27 with 2 days of orientation for NIH employees, area residents and the press after completion of the first of three phases of an $18 million construction program.
NIH received a $20,250,000 supplemental appropriation on August 31 to intensify and expand support of research in heart disease, cancer, stroke and related diseases.
Dr. William H. Stewart, appointed PHS Surgeon General September 24, took office on October 2.
A reorganization of the DHEW provided for an expansion of the secretary's office with the creation of three new assistant secretaries, including an assistant secretary for health and scientific affairs.
Dr. Philip R. Lee was appointed to the new position of assistant secretary for health and scientific affairs on November 2.
The Division of Regional Medical Programs was created on February 1 to administer grants under the Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke Amendments of 1965. Dr. Robert Q. Marston was appointed NIH associate director for regional medical programs and chief of the division.
At a White House meeting June 27, the NIH director and institute directors discussed with the President how the benefits of research findings in health could be brought more rapidly to all the people. Later in the year, a report to the President described current NIH research efforts on the major U.S. disease problems and set forth the status of those problems, the nature of present and planned investigative efforts and the problems of and opportunities for further research.
A Division of Environmental Health Sciences was established in NIH November 1 to conduct, foster and coordinate research on the biological, chemical, and physical effects of environmental agents. Dr. Paul Kotin, scientific director for etiology, NCI, was named director of the new division.
An advisory committee to the NIH director was appointed on November 9 to provide advice on the further development of NIH research and related programs.
The National Institute of Mental Health was separated from NIH and raised to bureau status in PHS by a reorganization that became effective January 1. NIMH's Division of Clinical, Behavioral and Biological Research, within the mental health Intramural Research Program, comprising activities conducted in the Clinical Center and other NIH facilities, continued here under an agreement for joint administration between the two companion bureaus. The Toxicology Information Program was established at NLM, January 1, in response to recommendations of the President's Science Advisory Committee. The program includes the entire range of chemical effects on living organisms.
The PHS Audiovisual Facility, renamed the National Medical Audiovisual Center, became an NLM component July 1.
On September 26, the deed for 509.25 acres of Research Triangle Park, N.C., to serve as a permanent site for the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, was presented to the Surgeon General.
Establishment of the John E. Fogarty International Center for Advanced Study in the Health Sciences (FIC) was given departmental approval February 26. The center became operational on July 1, at which time the NIH Office of International Research was abolished and certain of its functions were transferred to FIC and NIAID.
Under a reorganization of health activities announced on April 1, NIH assumed status as a new operating agency within the department, with the NIH director reporting directly to the assistant secretary for health and scientific Affairs. Under the reorganization, the Bureau of Health Manpower and the National Library of Medicine became components of NIH.
On June 15 the four-story $7.5 million Gerontology Research Center building, located at and operated in cooperation with Baltimore City Hospitals, was officially opened.
A proposed facility to house the biomedical communications network was designated the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications by passage of P.L. 90-456 on August 3.
Established by the DHEW secretary on August 9, the Center for Population Research conducts a contract and grant program in population and reproduction research. The center was designated by the President as the primary Federal agency responsible for population research and training.
On August 16 the National Eye Institute was created to build an enlarged program based on blindness research formerly conducted in the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness. The legislation also changed the NINDB name to the National Institute of Neurological Diseases.
Dr. Robert Q. Marston was sworn in as NIH director on August 29.
A Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded on October 16 to Dr. Marshall W. Nirenberg, chief of NIH's Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics, for discovering the key to deciphering the genetic code. He was the first NIH Nobel laureate, and the first Federal employee to receive a Nobel Prize.
On October 24 the President signed into law (P.L. 90-639) legislation changing the name of the NIND to the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke.
The National Eye Institute was established on December 26.
A further reorganization of the NIH internal structure announced January 4 renamed the Bureau of Health Manpower as the Bureau of Health Professions Education and Manpower Training and expanded it to include seven divisions, one of which was the Division of Research Resources (DRR).
The Division of Environmental Health Sciences was elevated to institute status on January 12, thus becoming the 10th NIH institute.
Dr. Roger O. Egeberg was named DHEW assistant secretary for health and scientific affairs on July 14, succeeding Dr. Lee.
On November 10, the DHEW secretary redesignated the National Heart Institute as the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI).
A reorganization of the Bureau of Health Professions Education and Manpower Training renamed it the Bureau of Health Manpower Education on September 18. DRR was separated from the bureau and became a division within NIH.
Dr. Merlin K. DuVal was appointed DHEW assistant secretary for health and scientific affairs on July 1, succeeding Dr. Egeberg.
The White House Conference on Aging recommended creating a separate National Institute on Aging on December 2.
On December 23 the President signed the National Cancer Act of 1971 initiating a National Cancer Program, establishing the President's Cancer Panel, a National Cancer Advisory Board and 15 new research, training and demonstration cancer centers.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases was renamed the National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases on May 19. On July 1, DBS transferred from NIH and officially became a sixth bureau, the Bureau of Biologics in the Food and Drug Administration. The bureau continues to use NIH facilities and buildings.
The DHEW secretary approved a reorganization of NHLI on July 14, elevating the institute to bureau status within NIH. A bureau-level organization was established for the National Cancer Institute on July 27.
On October 25 Public Law 92-564 established a temporary National Commission on Multiple Sclerosis (supported by NINDS).
Dr. Christian B. Anfinsen, NIAMDD, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on ribonuclease.
Dr. Charles C. Edwards was appointed DHEW assistant secretary for health on April 18, succeeding Dr. DuVal.
Dr. Robert S. Stone was sworn in as the 10th NIH director on May 29.
The Bureau of Health Manpower Education was transferred from NIH to the new Health Resources Administration on July 1 and renamed the Bureau of Health Resources Development.
The National Institute of Mental Health rejoined the National Institutes of Health on July 1. On September 25, NIMH became part of the new Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration.
The Research on Aging Act of 1974, creating the National Institute on Aging, was signed into law on May 31.
On July 23, the National Cancer Act Amendments of 1974 were signed by the President to improve the National Cancer Program. It also established a President's Biomedical Research Panel.
The National Institute on Aging was established on October 7.
The Interagency Primate Steering Committee was established by the DHEW assistant secretary for health with NIH as the lead agency.
Institutional Relations Branch was transferred on October 27 from DRG to the immediate Office of the Director, NIH, and renamed the Office for Protection From Research Risks.
On March 13 the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke was renamed the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke.
Dr. Theodore Cooper was appointed DHEW assistant secretary for health on July 1, succeeding Dr. Edwards.
Dr. Donald S. Fredrickson was sworn in as the 11th NIH director on July 1.
The Adult Development and Aging Branch and the Gerontology Research Center were separated from NICHD to become the core of the National Institute on Aging, also on July 1.
On June 25, the National Heart and Lung Institute was renamed the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Dr. D. Carleton Gajdusek, NINCDS, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Dr. Baruch Blumberg, Institute for Cancer Research. Dr. Gajdusek was honored for his research on kuru and Dr. Blumberg for his work on the Australia antigen at the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases (1957-1964).
Construction of the Ambulatory Care Research Facility was started in April.
On July 13, Dr. Julius B. Richmond took the oath of office as DHEW assistant secretary for health and Surgeon General, becoming the first person to hold both offices simultaneously.
On November 15 the DHEW secretary announced the establishment of the National Toxicology Program under the direction of NIEHS.
Dr. Hans J. Muller Eberhard, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, delivered the first Kinyoun Lecture on April 24.
A protocol of cooperation in the exchange of information on medicine and public health between the United States and China was signed on June 22 in Beijing's historic Great Hall. The DHEW secretary signed on behalf of the United States.
On July 18 NCI and the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD., agreed to cooperate in a cancer treatment research program.
DHEW became the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on May 14.
A separate Department of Education was established.
On May 22, the Lister Hill Center for Biomedical Communications was dedicated as part of NLM.
On May 14 Dr. Edward N. Brandt, Jr., was sworn in as assistant secretary for health.
The National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolic, and Digestive Diseases was renamed the National Institute of Arthritis, Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney diseases on June 23.
On June 30 Dr. Fredrickson stepped down as NIH director. Dr. Thomas E. Malone was appointed acting director.
The Ambulatory Care Research Facility was officially dedicated on October 22. The research hospital was renamed the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center in honor of the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Sen. Magnuson was involved in support of biomedical research at NIH since 1937.
Dr. C. Everett Koop became PHS Surgeon General on November 16.
On April 22 NIADDK was converted to bureau status, joining NCI, NHLBI, and NLM. Dr. James B. Wyngaarden, chairman of the Duke University department of medicine, was appointed NIH director on April 29.
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development marked its 20th anniversary on September 20.
NIGMS celebrated its 20th anniversary by establishing the DeWitt Stetten, Jr., Lectureship. Dr. David S. Hogness, Stanford University, gave the first lecture, October 13.
The National Institute on Aging opened its first on-campus research unit in the NIH Clinical Center.
The NIEHS facility in Research Triangle Park, N.C., was dedicated on November 15.
Lasker Foundation Awards were presented on November 17 to three NIH scientists: Dr. Elizabeth Neufeld, NIADDK; Dr. Roscoe O. Brady, NINDS; and Dr. Robert C. Gallo, NCI.
On January 18, Building 1 was officially named the James A. Shannon Building in honor of the former NIH director (1955-1968).
The first multidisciplinary pain clinic in the United States devoted exclusively to research was opened in the Clinical Center March 21 by NIDR.
NCI dedicated its R.A. Bloch International Cancer Information Center on October 2. The building houses the institute's information programs that serve health professionals and scientists.
In December, the Clinical Center celebrated its 30th anniversary of operation.
NIH purchased the Convent of the Sisters of the Visitation of Washington along with about 11 acres of land for $4.5 million.
In May NCI scientists headed by Dr. Robert C. Gallo, Jr., uncovered strong evidence that variants of a human cancer virus called HTLV-III are the primary cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
DCRT celebrated its 20th anniversary in May.
NIH and Howard Hughes Medical Institute launched a multimillion dollar cooperative program in August to help increase the vigor of American biomedical research and continue the flow of new doctors into research areas.
The former Convent was dedicated September 19 as the Mary Woodard Lasker Center for Health Research and Education.
NIH and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute chose the first 25 HHMI-NIH research scholars in June.
In July the NIA celebrated its 10th anniversary.
In May the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases became a separate institute separated from its parent NIADDK - now called the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Also created was the National Center for Nursing Research.
NIH held the First Intramural Research Day on September 25 featuring symposia and poster sessions.
In June NIAID funded 14 centers to evaluate experimental drugs in the treatment of AIDS.
NIH opened its year-long centennial celebration — A Century of Science for Health — on October 16.
NIH scheduled monthly events, hosted by individual components throughout the year, to commemorate its 100th anniversary.
NIAID awarded contracts to five medical centers to establish AIDS treatment evaluation units.
NIEHS celebrated its 20th anniversary, while NIGMS and DRR marked their 25th.
Fifty-six promising science students — one from each state and U.S. possession — were honored by NIH as centennial scholars.
On July 23 President Reagan named a 13-member Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic, which held its first meeting following the announcement.
NIH became a smoke-free agency on September 1, banning smoking in all buildings.
Hundreds of NIH alumni from the United States and abroad returned to the campus on October 15-16 to help close out the year-long celebration of the NIH centennial.
Recognizing the importance of computerized information processing methods for the conduct of biomedical research, Congress establishes the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) as a division of the National Library of Medicine on November 4.
NIH was honored by Spain with the presentation of the Grand Cross of the Civil Order of Health.
The NICHD celebrated its 25th anniversary and NIAID and NIDR marked their 40th.
The Children's Inn at NIH, a temporary home away from home for NIH pediatric patients, was dedicated. A gift of $2.5 million from Merck and Co., Inc. was donated toward the construction of the building.
"Sky Horizon," a sculpture created by Louise Nevelson, was provided to the NIH on loan by Edwin C. Whitehead, founder of the Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research.
Officials from NICHD, NINDS, and NIMH broke ground for a facility they will share — Building 49, the Child Health and Neurosciences Building.
November marked the establishment of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The parent institute was renamed the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
On May 10, Building 31 was named the Claude Denson Pepper Bldg. to honor NIH's "legislative father."
The NIH Record marked its 40th year of publication in May.
On May 22, NIH conducted its first gene transfer in humans. A cancer patient was infused with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) that had been altered by insertion of a gene. This allowed scientists to track the special cancer-fighting cells in the body to increase the understanding of TIL therapy.
The National Center for Human Genome Research was established in January.
DRR and DRS merged in March and named the National Center for Research Resources.
On June 21 the Children's Inn at NIH opened its doors to pediatric patients and their families. The President and Mrs. Bush attended the ceremonies.
The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee approved the first experiments involving transfer of human genes for therapeutic purposes on July 31. The treatment was initiated on September 14 in a 4-year-old girl with adenosine deaminase deficiency.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases marked their 40th anniversaries.
It was announced in September that the gene that caused osteoarthritis was isolated by scientists supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases.
The Office of Research on Women's Health was established to strengthen NIH's efforts to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness in women and to enhance research related to diseases and conditions that affect women.
On January 29, NIH scientists treated the first cancer patients with human gene therapy. Two patients received transfusions of special cancer-killing cells removed from their own tumors and armed in the laboratory with a gene capable of producing a potent antitumor toxin, tumor necrosis factor.
Dr. Bernadine Healy was confirmed as NIH's 13th director on March 21. She was the first woman appointed to this post.
In August the National Center for Human Genome Research announced the start of a new, unified effort to develop a "framework" map of the human genome — expected to take 2 to 3 years to complete.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and National Institute of Mental Health were transferred from the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration to become part of the NIH.
Two components — NICHD and NIGMS — celebrated their 30th anniversaries on September 21 and October 17, respectively.
NIH Director Bernadine Healy stepped down to return to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
The Clinical Center celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Sixteen university medical programs were launch sites for the 15-year, $625 million Women's Health Initiative. About 3,000 women will be enrolled at each center to investigate women's most common causes of death and disability.
Dr. Harold Varmus was appointed NIH's 14th Director.
FIC noted its 25th anniversary.
The National Center for Nursing Research became the 16th institute.
Former director, Dr. James Shannon, died.
NHLBI scientists for the first time successfully transferred a normal cystic fibrosis gene into the cells lining a CF patient's lungs.
Researchers at NIEHS isolated the BRCA1 gene — responsible for about 5 percent of all breast cancers and 25 percent in women under age 30.
Dr. Martin Rodbell, NIEHS, shared the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for research on G proteins, key components of the communication system that regulates cellular activity.
NLM unveiled the "Visible Man," a detailed atlas of human anatomy created from thousands of images of a human body collected by radiographic and photographic techniques.
NIAAA celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The first multicenter trial of bone marrow transplantation in children with sickle cell disease demonstrated that the procedure can provide a cure for young patients that have a matched sibling, according to NHLBI-supported scientists.
DRG celebrated its 50th anniversary and NIEHS noted its 30th.
Researchers with NHGRI completed a map of chromosome 7, an important milestone within the Human Genome Project.
DRG was renamed the Center for Scientific Review and DCRT became the Center for Information Technology.
Vice President Al Gore performed an "inaugural search," opening up free access on the world wide web to NLM's MEDLINE.
Results from the NIH-supported Dietary and Systolic Hypertension trial indicated that blood pressure can be swiftly and significantly lowered through a diet low in fat and high in vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy foods.
A team led by NHGRI scientists identified a defective gene that causes some inherited cases of Parkinson's disease.
Results from an NIH trial showed that a low-dose diuretic cuts by half the chance that an older person with high systolic blood pressure will develop heart failure. In those who had already had a heart attack, their chance of developing heart failure dropped by 80 percent.
A team led by NIH-funded scientists determined the complete genome sequence of the E. coli bacterium, a laboratory workhorse. This accomplishment gives researchers a powerful new tool for understanding fundamental questions of biological evolution and function.
On November 4, Vice President Al Gore and Senator Mark O. Hatfield attended the groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Clinical Center, which will be called the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center.
Building 20, NIH's apartment building, was carefully demolished to make way for the new Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center.
NICHD's new zebrafish facility opened. Zebrafish have become the mainstay of developmental biologists for studying the development of the vascular system and central nervous system, as well as the functional genomics of the zebrafish.
A large prevention trial conducted by NCI showed that long-term use of a moderate-dose vitamin E supplement substantially reduced prostate cancer incidence and deaths in male smokers.
In a cooperative endeavor (Neurolab) between NASA, NIH and others, astronauts on Space Shuttle Columbia conducted research on how the neurological system responds to the challenges of space flight.
Results from a NCI-sponsored clinical trial showed that women at high risk of developing breast cancer who took the drug tamoxifen had 49 percent fewer cases of breast cancer than those who didn't. Tamoxifen was hailed as the first drug to prevent breast cancer in women at high risk for the disease.
The new NIH Intramural Sequencing Center opened in Gaithersburg. NISC is a 14-institute consortium that is dedicated to large-scale sequencing of human and animal DNA.
NIDR celebrated its 50th anniversary, with a name change to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
Building 16, known as the Stone House, was renamed the "Lawton Chiles International House"; it will be the locus for international activities supported by FIC and other NIH and DHHS components.
Between 1992 and 1996, the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) dropped by 38 percent, much of that likely being due to a 66 percent decrease during the same period in the number of U.S. infants being placed to sleep on their stomachs. A national Back to Sleep Campaign — encouraging parents to put their infants to sleep on their backs - was launched in 1994 by NICHD, in partnership with HHS and other organizations.
The complete sequence of two bacteria that are among the major causes of sexually transmitted diseases worldwide — Treponema pallidum, responsible for syphilis, and Chlamydia trachomatis, responsible for chlamydial infections — were obtained by two separate teams of scientists supported by NIAID and others.
NIDCD celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Senator John Glenn and six other astronauts spent nine days in space aboard NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery conducting about 83 scientific projects, the most research-intensive space journey yet. Glenn, NASA and others worked with NIA to develop the projects.
NIAID celebrated its 50th anniversary.
NHLBI's Framingham Heart Study celebrated its 50th anniversary.
An international team funded by NHGRI and others obtained the complete sequence of the 97-million-base genome of the roundworm, Caenorhabditis elegans. This marks the first time that scientists have spelled out the instructions for a complete animal which, like humans, has a nervous system, digests food, reproduces, and gets old, making it a very important organism in which to carry out studies that parallel human biology.
The new South Entry to the Clinical Center opened, thus facilitating construction on the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center on the north face of Building 10.
A team of investigators led by an NIAID grantee discovered that a subspecies of chimpanzees native to west Africa are the origin of HIV-1, the virus responsible for the global AIDS pandemic.
Underlying vitamin D deficiency in postmenopausal women is associated with increased risk of hip fracture, according to a study supported by NIA and NCRR.
NIDA, NIMH, and NINDS moved into the new Neuroscience Center office building on Executive Boulevard, which some have dubbed "NIH North".
A meta-analysis study, led by an NICHD researcher, found that pregnant women infected with HIV could reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their infants by about 50 percent if they deliver by cesarean section before they go into labor and before their membranes rupture.
NIH Director Dr. Harold Varmus convened the first meeting of the Director's Council of Public Representatives (COPR). The Council will provide advice and recommendations to, and consult with, the NIH Director regarding matters related to medical research, NIH's policies and programs, and public participation in NIH's activities. COPR was chartered in November 1998.
On June 9, President Bill Clinton unveiled the cornerstone for the new Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center, which initially will focus on accelerating the search for a vaccine against AIDS. Earlier, Dr. Varmus named Dr. Gary Nabel as the director of the new VRC, which currently exists as a "center without walls". The VRC is funded by NIAID and NCI and spear- headed by them and NIH's Office of AIDS Research.
NLM's MEDLINE added the 10 millionth journal citation to its database.
A joint Uganda — U.S. study, funded by NIAID, demonstrated a highly effective, affordable and practical strategy for preventing transmission of HIV from an infected mother to her newborn. A single-oral dose of the antiretroviral drug nevirapine given to the HIV-infected mother while in labor and another to her baby within three days of birth reduced the transmission rate by half compared with a similar short course of AZT.
Women with preeclampsia, a potentially fatal complication of pregnancy, were found to have an imbalance of two key chemical compounds that control blood pressure, prostacyclin and thromboxane, months before their symptoms appeared, according to NICHD scientists.
NIDA celebrated its 25th anniversary.
NIH announced its plan to establish a repository called PubMed Central for free electronic distribution of primary research reports in the life sciences. The new site would be integrated with NLM's widely used bibliographic site PubMed and is intended to be one of several repositories in an international system first proposed by NIH director Dr. Harold Varmus. PubMed Central would begin receiving, storing and distributing content — including peer — reviewed articles, preprints, and other screened reports from existing journals, new journals, and reputable scientific organizations — in January 2000.
Children born to mothers with untreated hypothyroidism during pregnancy were found to score lower on IQ tests than children of healthy mothers suggesting that early detection and treatment of hypothyroidism in pregnant women may be a critical part of prenatal care, according to a study funded by NICHD and others.
In October 1999, NIH announced a major research program involving 10 laboratories, called the Mouse Genome Sequencing Network, to map and sequence the DNA in the mouse genome.
A research effort led by NIAID scientists produced the first high-resolution genetic map of Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest malaria parasite, which is responsible for the death of more than two million people annually.
Scientists supported by NHGRI along with groups in England and Japan completed the first sequence of a human chromosome, chromosome 22. Genes on chromosome 22 have been implicated in immune system function, congenital heart disease, and several cancers including leukemia.
The National Toxicology Program, headquartered at NIEHS, announced that Federal regulatory agencies — FDA, OSHA, EPA and CPSC — would accept, for the first time, an alternative way to test chemicals for allergic contact dermatitis that could reduce by thousands the number of guinea pigs needed for such tests.
After leading NIH for 6 years, Dr. Harold Varmus left to become the President and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
On January 1, Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, deputy director of NIH, became the acting director.
Scientists funded by NIDCR and NIAMS, along with an NCI scientist discovered that leptin, the product of the obesity gene, acts as a bone inhibitor by telling the brain to slow down the rate of bone formation, showing for the first time that the brain has a central role in controlling bone formation and density.
A team including NCI scientists and grantees used microarray technology to show that the most common form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, is actually two distinct diseases, thus explaining why 40 percent of patients with this NHL can be cured through chemotherapy while others succumb to the disease. This is the first demonstration of a technology that promises to revolutionize cancer diagnosis as well as many other areas of research.
The NIEHS headquarters and laboratory Building 101 in Research Triangle Park, N.C., was renamed the Rall Building in honor of former NIEHS director, Dr. David Platt Rall.
NLM received Vice President Al Gore's Hammer Award for a series of improvements in its information services, including making its popular MEDLINE database of journal article references and abstracts free and easier for the public to use.
NIH launched the first phase of a consumer-friendly database, ClinicalTrials. gov, with information on more than 4,000 Federal and private medical studies involving patients and others at more than 47,000 locations nationwide. The new database may be reached at https://clinicaltrials.gov.
CC and NIAID scientists demonstrated that the widely used herbal product St. John's wort could significantly compromise the effectiveness of a protease inhibitor often used to treat those infected with HIV.
An NIAID study showed that a nasal spray flu vaccine not only protected young children against the three strains of influenza for which the vaccine was designed to provide protection but also a flu strain not covered by the vaccine. It also protected the children against flu-related middle-ear infections.
Scientists supported by NHGRI and DOE along with the private company Celera completely sequenced the genome of the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, which is used to study a host of biological questions related to aging, development, learning, memory and more.
NIH's Office of Research on Minority Health and the Office of Research on Women's Health celebrated their tenth anniversaries.
An NHLBI-supported clinical trial showed that lowering the amount of salt for those who ate a "usual" American diet as well as those following the DASH diet — rich in vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy foods and low in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol — lowered blood pressure correspondingly for both those with and without hypertension, including African Americans.
NIGMS and the Indian Health Service announced plans to collaborate on a new program, Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH), designed to promote, develop and support centers that will link the Native American community with organizations that conduct health research.
The international Human Genome Project public consortium — funded by NIH, DOE, and others — assembled a working draft of the sequence of the human genome. The information from this project has been completely, immediately, and freely released to the world with no restrictions on its use.
Researchers supported by NIGMS demonstrated that a simple and inexpensive change in basic surgical procedures — giving patients more oxygen during and immediately after surgery — can cut the rate of wound infections in half, thus saving millions of dollars in hospital costs by helping to prevent post-surgical wound infection, nausea and vomiting.
A team of scientists funded by NIAID determined the complete sequence of the genome of the bacterium — Vibrio cholerae — that causes cholera.
Grantees of NIAID and NHGRI and others sequenced the entire genome of a deadly strain of E. coli, a bacterium that is emerging as a major public health threat through contaminated ground beef, milk, fruits and vegetables. By comparing the sequence of this strain with that of harmless strains of E. coli, scientists may learn why only some forms cause disease and then find ways to prevent harmful strains from causing disease.
A team of NHGRI and NCI scientists and others developed a new genetic test that can distinguish between two types of hereditary breast cancer — caused by BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations — and sporadic breast cancer. The new approach uses microarray (gene chip) technology to analyze the activity of more than 5300 genes at once. This advance should ultimately help physicians diagnose the cause of a woman's breast cancer and guide decisions about the most effective treatments.
A team composed of scientists from NHGRI and NINDS, grantees of NHLBI and NIA, and others demonstrated that adult stem cells isolated from mouse bone marrow could become functioning heart muscle cells when injected into a damaged mouse heart. The new cells at least partially restored the heart's ability to pump blood.
NIAID grantees completed sequencing the genome of Streptococcus pyogenes, a bacterium that causes a wide variety of human diseases including strep throat, scarlet fever, pneumonia, toxic shock syndrome, blood "poisoning," acute rheumatic fever, rheumatic heart disease, and the flesh-eating disease known as necrotizing fasciitis. This information should aid scientists in developing new ways to prevent and treat these diseases.
Scientists from NICHD developed and, along with an NIDDK scientist and others, tested the first vaccine capable of protecting children ages 2 to 5 against typhoid fever. Seemingly the most effective typhoid vaccine ever developed, it is also virtually free of side effects. About 16 million people worldwide develop typhoid each year, and 600,000 die from it, mainly in developing countries without adequate sewage and sanitation.
Under a CRADA with the drug company Novartis, NCI scientists found that a new drug known as Gleevec was effective against chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in patients for whom standard treatments had failed. (CML is a disease in which too many white blood cells are made in the bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside the large bones in the body.) NCI funded the lion's share of the basic research that led to the discovery and development by Novartis of Gleevec, the first anti-cancer drug specifically developed to target the molecular problem that causes a particular type of cancer.
NHGRI scientists and others developed a method that combined microarray (gene chip) technology with a form of artificial intelligence. This enabled them to tell the difference between four childhood cancers that often look alike — neuroblastoma, Ewing's sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (Burkitt's lymphoma) and rhabdomyosarcoma. Because the treatments for these tumors are quite different, an accurate diagnosis can be critical for a child's survival. This study should help lead to the discovery of genes that are altered in these tumors and ultimately to the development of effective new treatments.
Grantees of NHLBI and NIA found that human heart muscle cells can regenerate after a heart attack. This finding opens up the possibility of repairing heart muscle damage after a heart attack.
Animal studies by NIDA researchers found that craving for cocaine seems to increase, rather than decrease, in the days and months after drug use has stopped. This phenomenon helps explain why addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease.
People at high risk for type 2 diabetes can sharply lower their chances of getting the disease by losing weight (5 percent to 7 percent of their body weight) and by getting 30 minutes of walking or other moderate exercise every day, according to the findings of a clinical trial sponsored by NIDDK.
On August 9, President Bush announced that Federal funds could be used to support research using existing lines of human embryonic stem cells that meet certain criteria. NIH then developed a registry of the known human embryonic stem cell lines so researchers could identify in their applications for funding which sources of stem cells they plan to use.
An NEI-sponsored clinical trial showed that people at high risk of developing advanced stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) significantly lowered that risk by taking a high-dose combination of zinc and the antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene. These nutrients are the first effective treatment to slow the progression of AMD, a leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in Americans 65 years of age and older.
NCRR-supported scientists were part of a team that cloned the world's first "knockout" pigs — ones with a particular gene removed. The gene they removed was for a molecule on the surface of the pig cells that the human immune system recognizes and attacks, leading to the failure of transplanted tissues or organs.
A team of NICHD and other scientists developed the first vaccine against Staphylococcus aureus, a major cause of infection and death among hospital patients.
People with elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood had nearly double the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD), according to a team of scientists supported by NIA and NINDS. The findings, in a group of participants in NHLBI's long-running Framingham Study, are the first to tie homocysteine levels measured several years before with a later diagnosis of AD and the other dementias, providing some of the most powerful evidence yet of an association between high plasma homocysteine and later significant memory loss.
NIAID released its Counter-Bioterrorism Research Agenda, a document describing an accelerated research plan for the most threatening agents of bioterrorism. The agenda outlines the research NIAID will undertake to help protect civilian populations from diseases such as smallpox, anthrax and plague should those who wish to do harm unleash them intentionally.
Results of an NIAID study indicate that the existing U.S. supply of smallpox vaccine — 15.4 million doses — could successfully be diluted up to five times and retain its potency, effectively expanding the number of individuals it could protect from the contagious disease. The success of this study puts us one step closer to the goal of having enough vaccine for every American if needed to respond to a potential outbreak.
Dr. Elias Zerhouni became the 15th director of the National Institutes of Health.
The international Mouse Genome Sequencing Consortium, jointly funded by NHGRI and several NIH institutes along with the Wellcome Trust in the United Kingdom, announced that it had assembled and deposited into public databases an advanced draft sequence of the mouse genome, the genetic blueprint for the most important animal model in biomedical research. The sequence is freely available on the Internet.
Dr. Roderic I. Pettigrew was named the first director of NIH's new National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.
Researchers used whole-genome sequencing technology and computational methods to genetically compare two important isolates of the anthrax bacterium: the well-known Ames strain and an isolate from the 2001 Florida anthrax attacks. These techniques will enable researchers to more accurately trace the origin of individual bacterial strains, determine if those strains have been genetically modified, and assess differences in their ability to cause disease or resist antibiotics. NIAID teamed with the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies to fund the research.
NHLBI stopped early a major clinical trial of the risks and benefits of combined estrogen and progestin in healthy menopausal women due to an increased risk of invasive breast cancer. The large trial, a component of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), also found increases in coronary heart disease, stroke, and pulmonary embolism in study participants on estrogen plus progestin compared to women taking placebo pills. There were some benefits of estrogen plus progestin, including fewer cases of hip fractures and colon cancer, but on balance the harm was greater than the benefit.
NIH licensed a new technology that allows physicians and researchers to make detailed, three-dimensional maps of nerve pathways in the brain, heart muscle fibers, and other soft tissues. The new imaging technology, called Diffusion Tensor Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DT-MRI), was invented by researchers now at NICHD.
A new approach to cancer treatment that replaces a patient's immune system with cancer-fighting cells can lead to tumor shrinkage. NCI researchers demonstrated that immune cells, activated in the laboratory against patients' tumors and then administered to those patients, could attack cancer cells in the body. The experimental technique, known as adoptive transfer, has shown promising results in patients with metastatic melanoma who have not responded to standard treatment.
NIAID-supported researchers proved conclusively that the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum became resistant to the anti-malarial drug chloroquine through mutations in a single parasite gene. This finding has potentially important implications for malaria treatment and control.
An international research consortium of NHGRI, other NIH components, and other countries launched a public-private effort to create the next generation map of the human genome. Called the International HapMap Project, this new venture is aimed at speeding the discovery of genes related to common illnesses such as asthma, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
The International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium, led in the United States by NHGRI and the Department of Energy, completed the Human Genome Project more than two years ahead of schedule and for a cost substantially less than the original estimates. The international effort to sequence the three billion DNA letters is considered by many to be one of the most ambitious scientific undertakings of all time. The first draft of the human sequence was completed in June 2000. Researchers have now produced a "finished" sequence, which covers about 99 percent of the human genome's gene-containing regions, and has been sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99 percent. All of the sequence data have been deposited into public databases and made freely available to scientists around the world, with no restrictions on their use or redistribution.
The complete genetic blueprint of Bacillus anthracis — the microbe that gained notoriety during the 2001 anthrax mail attacks — has been completed by NIAID-funded researchers. This bacterium, which can cause potentially fatal inhalational anthrax, differs very little from a common soil bacterium related to it. Scientists hope that the genetic differences between these two may reveal valuable clues to its vulnerabilities.
NHLBI published new clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, detection, and treatment of high blood pressure — a major risk factor for heart disease and the chief risk factor for stroke and heart failure. The guidelines define a new blood pressure category called "prehypertension" that includes about 22 percent of American adults, or about 45 million people. Americans' lifetime risk of developing hypertension is greater than previously thought, according to the new guidelines. Medications and lifestyle changes are both crucial parts of treatment.
Researchers supported by NIMH found a gene called 5-HTT that influences whether people become depressed when faced with major life stresses such as relationship problems, financial difficulties and illness. The gene by itself does not cause depression, but it does affect how likely people are to get depressed when faced with major life stresses. Another study led by NIAAA researchers found that this same gene affects drinking habits in college students. These studies are major contributions toward understanding how a person's response to their environment is influenced by their genetic makeup.
A team led by NIDCR and NICHD researchers discovered that "baby" teeth, the temporary teeth that children begin losing around their sixth birthday, contain a rich supply of stem cells in their dental pulp. The cells, named SHED, remain alive inside the tooth for a short time after it falls out of a child's mouth. This easily accessible source of stem cells could be readily harvested for research. Scientists hope they can learn to manipulate them to repair damaged teeth, induce the regeneration of bone, and treat neural injury or disease.
Researchers supported by NICHD, NIGMS, NHLBI and NIDCR discovered how an embryo attaches to the wall of the uterus in what may be one of the earliest steps needed to establish a successful pregnancy. After an egg is fertilized, a specialized protein called L-selectin on the embryo surface binds to carbohydrates on the uterine wall. Scientists think that this interaction slows the embryo down to a complete stop so it can then attach to the wall of the uterus. The finding may lead to insights into infertility and early pregnancy loss.
An international research team funded by NINR found that filters made from old cotton saris cut the number of cholera cases in rural Bangladesh villages almost in half. Other inexpensive cloth should work just as well in other parts of the world where cholera is endemic. Cholera is a waterborne disease that causes severe diarrhea and vomiting, killing thousands of people around the world every year. This simple preventive measure has the potential to make a significant impact on a global health problem.
NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni names five new institute directors: Dr. Ting-Kai Li at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; Dr. Thomas Insel at the National Institute of Mental Health; Dr. Nora Volkow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Jeremy Berg at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences; Dr. Story Landis at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
President George W. Bush visits NIH on Feb. 3 to unveil Project BioShield, a $6 billion, 10-year effort to protect the public from various weapons of bioterrorism.
The FY 2003 appropriation for NIH completes a 5-year doubling of the NIH budget that began in 1998.
Construction begins on a new Perimeter Security System including a fence around the Bethesda campus.
Construction begins on the Bldg. 33 Complex, to include a parking garage and 150,000 gross square foot laboratory for work on infectious agents that might be used in bioterrorism.
Dr. Zerhouni announces the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, a comprehensive plan whose purpose is to identify the major scientific opportunities and gaps in medical research that no single institute or center at NIH could tackle alone.
NIH opens the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center, a 240-bed successor to the NIH Clinical Center, which opened in 1953. It is the world's largest facility dedicated to clinical research. The 870,000-square-foot addition welcomed occupants of its research wings in fall 2004, and was to admit its first patients in early January 2005.
The NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, a coordinated effort to speed the results of bench research to the patient bedside, marks its first anniversary, which includes the award of 9 grants to the inaugural class of winners of the NIH Director's Pioneer Awards.
NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni announces an NIH proposal to enhance public access to taxpayer-supported research by creating an online, searchable archive of all NIH-funded publications within 6 months of their appearance in journals.
NIH proposes enhancements to its rules governing potential conflicts of interest on the part of employees, thereby resolving public and congressional concerns about the outside activities of NIH staff.
NIH launches the Neuroscience Blueprint, a framework to enhance cooperative activities among 14 NIH Institutes and Centers that support research on the nervous system. The ultimate goal of the Blueprint is to accelerate neuroscience research to reduce the burden of nervous system disorders and maintain a healthy nervous system throughout life.
The Council of Public Representatives to the NIH director (COPR) holds a Public Trust Workshop aimed at increasing public participation in clinical research. COPR advocates building trust through community partnerships, building relationships with patients, building partnerships with community providers and building trust in both scientists and NIH scientific research.
An international clinical trial concluded that women should consider taking letrozole after 5 years of tamoxifen treatment to continue to reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer. This advance in breast cancer treatment will improve the outlook for many thousands of women. NCI supported the U.S. portion of the study, which offered one more example of the ability to interrupt the progression of a cancer using a drug that blocks a crucial metabolic pathway in the tumor cell.
As of July 2003, about 10 million American women were taking some form of hormone therapy, including approximately 6.7 million taking estrogen alone and 3.3 million taking estrogen plus progestin. A large, multi-center prevention study of estrogen-alone hormone therapy in healthy, postmenopausal women without a uterus, was stopped in February 2004 after researchers found that estrogen-alone had no effect on coronary heart disease risk, but increased the risk of stroke. The study, part of the NHLBI-sponsored Women's Health Initiative (WHI), also found that estrogen-alone therapy significantly increased the risk of deep vein thrombosis, had no significant effect on the risk of breast or colorectal cancer, and reduced the risk of hip and other fractures. In addition, among older women in the study, estrogen-alone therapy did not prevent cognitive decline.
The International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium, led in the United States by the National Human Genome Research Institute and the Department of Energy, published its scientific description of the finished human genome sequence, reducing the estimated number of human protein-coding genes from 35,000 to only 20,000-25,000, a surprisingly low number for our species.
Adding to a developing body of research examining a possible link between diabetes and cognitive decline, a long-term study supported by NIA found that diabetes mellitus was linked to a 65 percent increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). These results are among the first to examine how certain cognitive systems, including memory for words and events, the speed of processing information, and the ability to recognize spatial patterns, decline in people with diabetes, while others do not. Further research, some currently under way, will tell researchers whether therapies for diabetes may in fact play a role in lowering risk of AD or cognitive decline.
From language to literature, from music to mathematics, a single protein, known as mBDNF, appears central to the formation of the long-term memories needed to learn these and all other disciplines. Most of what we accomplish as human beings depends on what we learn. This discovery, led by scientists at NICHD, brings the possibility of studying this protein system in people with learning and memory disorders and perhaps designing new medications that might help to compensate for these problems.
People with type 1 diabetes can lower their risk of heart disease and stroke by about 50% by tightly controlling their blood glucose levels, according to a study supported by NIDDK and NCRR. The findings were based on a follow-up study of patients who took part more than a decade ago in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, a major clinical study funded by NIDDK and other NIH components along with Genentech, Inc. Continuing studies will reveal whether the same applies to those with type 2 diabetes, the more prevalent form of the disease.
NCI and NHGRI launched a comprehensive effort called The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) to accelerate an understanding of the molecular basis of cancer using genome analysis technologies. A pilot project involves a few types of cancer chosen for their value in helping to determine the feasibility of a possible larger-scale project. The project will develop and test the complex science and technology framework needed to systematically identify and characterize genomic changes associated with cancer.
An international team supported by NHGRI published the genome sequence of the dog. Because of selective breeding over the past few centuries, modern dog breeds are a model of genetic diversity, from 6-pound Chihuahuas to 120-pound Great Danes, from high-energy Jack Russell Terriers to mild-mannered basset hounds, and from the herding instincts of Shetland sheepdogs to pointers pointing. However, selective breeding has also caused many dog breeds to be predisposed to genetic disorders including heart disease, cancer and blindness. In combination with the human genome, the dog genome sequence will help researchers identify genetic contributors to several diseases.
Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, visited NIH on November 3 for a briefing on osteoporosis. The Duchess of Cornwall's interest in osteoporosis — her mother and grandmother died as a result of the disease — spurred the visit. Sponsored by NIAMS, the meeting explored opportunities to spread the messages of the Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Surgeon General's Report.
President George W. Bush made his fourth visit to NIH in less than 3 years on November 1 to announce the government's pandemic influenza preparations and response. His previous visit, on January 26, was for a 40-minute town hall-style meeting to emcee a discussion with five citizens on the topic "Strengthening Health Care."
NIH launched a new state-of-the-art way for applicants to submit their grant applications electronically. Beginning with the receipt date of Dec. 1, 2005, NIH is requiring all its SBIR/STTR grant applicants to electronically submit their competing grants. NIH plans to transition all of its competing grant programs from paper to electronic by May 2007.
The International HapMap Consortium, a public-private effort to chart patterns of genetic variation in the world's population, published the human haplotype map, or HapMap. With more than 1 million markers of genetic variation, the HapMap is a comprehensive catalog of human genetic variation showing "neighborhoods" of correlated genetic variation, or haplotypes, across the entire human genome. Researchers will be able to identify genetic contributions to common diseases far more efficiently using HapMap data than with traditional approaches.
NIH launched a major new program, the Institutional Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) program, to encourage the development of clinical and translational science, so that new treatments can be developed more efficiently and delivered more quickly to patients.
An HIV/AIDS vaccine developed by scientists at NIAID's Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center moved into its second phase of clinical testing in October. This vaccine contains synthetic genes representing HIV subtypes found in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia that account about 85% of HIV infections worldwide.
Rates for new cases of kidney failure stabilized after 20 years of annual increases from 5 to 10%, according to research from NIDDK. Credit likely goes to clinical strategies proven in the 1990s to significantly delay or prevent kidney failure: angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-inhibitors) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), which lower protein in the urine and are thought to directly prevent injury to the kidneys' blood vessels; and careful control of diabetes and blood pressure. The launch of private and government programs to improve care and increase awareness, including NIDDK's National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP), likely also had an impact.
The nation's leading cancer organizations reported in October that Americans' risk of dying from cancer continues to decline and that the rate of new cancers is holding steady. Observed cancer death rates from all cancers combined dropped 1.1% per year from 1993 to 2002. NCI announced the results in the "Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2002" in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.
NIH celebrated the second anniversary of progress guided by the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research in September. In fiscal year 2005, NIH funded $235 million in new and continuing NIH Roadmap projects. Key NIH Roadmap accomplishments include:
- The establishment of advanced centers in nanomedicine.
- The Molecular Libraries Screening Center Network began work in June 2005.
- Research Teams of the Future awards were granted through fiscal year 2006 to fund 21 Exploratory Centers for Interdisciplinary Research throughout the country.
- The launch of the Re-engineering the Clinical Research Enterprise.
Within a day of Katrina's passage, NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni convened the first in a series of emergency meetings at which clinical directors, nursing and administrative leaders rapidly hammered out ways NIH could help. In partnership with the American Association of Medical Colleges, NIH created and activated a telemedicine brain trust for specialty medical consultations over a telephone hotline. An advance team and medical team numbering about 50 people deployed temporarily to a field hospital in Mississippi. In addition, the Clinical Center made 100 beds of "surge capacity" available for patients who might need to be transferred from the affected areas, such as young cancer patients who would need specialized services.
The Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium, which is supported in part by NHGRI, described its landmark analysis comparing the genome of the chimp (Pan troglodytes) with that of humans (Homo sapiens). The chimp sequence draft represents the first non-human primate genome. Our closest living relatives share 96% of our DNA sequence.
Dr. Zerhouni announced the latest and final regulations to prevent conflicts of interest at NIH on August 25. In the works since interim final regulations were published in February of 2004, the new revised standards became effective on August 31, when they appeared in the Federal Register.
Computer models developed by the NIGMS-funded Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) research network found that a carefully chosen combination of public health measures, if implemented early, could stop the spread of an avian flu outbreak at its source. The researchers found that antiviral treatment is a critical component of a multi-pronged approach.
An international group of researchers working in more than 20 laboratories around the globe and funded in part by NIAID sequenced the genomes of three parasites that cause deadly insect-borne diseases: African sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. Knowing the full genetic make-up of the three parasites might lead to better ways to treat or prevent the diseases they cause.
The Women's Health Study, a long-term clinical trial funded by NHLBI and NCI, found that vitamin E supplements don't protect healthy women against heart attacks and stroke. They also had no effect on the most common cancers in women or on total cancers.
The Protein Structure Initiative (PSI) completed its first 5-year phase and moved into its second. The PSI aims to figure out the three-dimensional shapes of proteins, with the long-term goal of being able to predict most protein structures from their DNA sequences. More than 1,100 protein structures were solved in the PSI's first phase, which was dedicated to figuring out how to process proteins and determine their three-dimensional structures more efficiently. Phase 2 is the production phase, in which thousands more protein structures will be solved and put into the Protein Data Bank (http://www.rcsb.org/pdb/), a public repository with powerful tools for processing protein structure information.
NHGRI announced 13 more organisms that the Large-Scale Sequencing Research Network will target, including 9 mammals, as part of its ongoing effort to produce genomic data that will expand biological knowledge and improve human health.
The Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge opened its doors to guests on Wednesday, June 1. This new addition to the NIH campus offers a temporary residence for families and loved ones of adult patients who are receiving care at the NIH Clinical Center.
Using New Bioshield Authorities, NIAID awarded 10 grants and 2 contracts totaling approximately $27 million to fund development of new therapeutics and vaccines against some of the most deadly agents of bioterrorism including anthrax, botulinum toxin, Ebola virus, pneumonic plague, smallpox and tularemia. Project Bioshield, which was signed into law on July 21, gives federal agencies new tools to accelerate research on medical countermeasures to safeguard Americans against chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack.
Researchers funded by NIH were asked to begin voluntarily submitting their manuscripts on May 2, 2005 to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication. "Public access" to peer-reviewed, NIH-funded research publications will enable health care providers, educators and scientists to more easily exchange and search for research results. The public will also have greater access to published material about the medical research their tax dollars support.
The Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT), a long-term, multi-center trial of antihypertensive therapies funded by NHLBI, found that diuretics work better than newer therapies in treating high blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease in both black and non-black patients. The large study, with 33,357 participants, concluded that diuretics should be the first therapy for most patients with high blood pressure.
Three independent research teams supported by NEI found a gene, called complement factor H (CFH), that affects a person's risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in people over age 60. One team, which included NIH's own researchers, found that people with this variant of the CFH gene are more than seven times more likely to develop the disease.
The Heart Truth, a national awareness campaign about women's heart disease sponsored by NHLBI, hosted the Red Dress Collection 2005 Fashion Show at Olympus Fashion Week in New York City on February 4, National Wear Red Day. First Lady Laura Bush, the national ambassador for NHLBI's campaign, joined Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and NHLBI director Dr. Elizabeth Nabel at a press event at the Time Life building in New York to kick off the fashion show. Made possible by Johnson & Johnson, Celestial Seasonings and Swarovski, the show was hosted by actress Vanessa Williams and included 26 of America's most influential designers along with a star-studded cast of celebrity models. The fashion show brought to life the Red Dress, the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness. In a survey was conducted by Harris Interactive in January, 60% of all the women surveyed agree that the Red Dress makes them want to learn more about heart disease, 25% recalled the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease and 45% agreed that it would prompt them to talk to their doctor and/or get a check-up.
NCI-funded research spanning nearly 2 decades helped lead to FDA approval for a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, a disease that claims the lives of nearly 4,000 women each year in the United States. It is the first cancer vaccine approved by the FDA.
NHLBI's nearly half-century commitment to exploring innovative mechanical approaches for treating damaged hearts led to the development of the first totally implanted artificial heart, approved by FDA in September 2006.
The NIH Office of Technology Transfer announced that products and processes invented by NIH scientists generated close to $100 million in royalties in 2005, nearly double $56 million-plus earned by NIH inventions the previous year. The top royalty earner is the invention of a Taxol-coated stent, which helps more than half a million Americans each year avoid bypass surgery.
On May 2, NIH dedicated a new research facility for studying globally important infectious diseases. NIAID's new C.W. Bill Young Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases will house studies of naturally occurring infectious diseases, infectious agents that might be used for bioterrorism and potential vaccines.
A multicenter research team, funded in part by NHGRI, completed the draft genome sequence of the rhesus macaque monkey and deposited the information into free public databases. The macaque is the second non-human primate, after the chimpanzee, to have its genome sequenced. Overall, the macaque shares about 92-95% of its genome sequence with humans. The genome sequence will facilitate research in neuroscience, behavioral biology, reproductive physiology, endocrinology, and cardiovascular studies.
NIH announced the launch of the first clinical studies under the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network. The network unites more than 300 investigators at dozens of research centers nationwide to study more than 40 rare diseases, most of which are difficult to diagnose and treat because they are so poorly understood. The new initiative will help move discoveries more quickly to patients.
As part of the largest hypertension clinical trial conducted to date, researchers began a comprehensive outreach program to improve high blood pressure control nationwide. About 150 physicians in 34 states and Washington, DC, have completed training to educate other physicians in their communities. Their goal is to help doctors and patients prevent and better treat high blood pressure.
The drug misoprostol was shown to provide a safe, convenient, and inexpensive way to prevent postpartum hemorrhage, a major killer of women in developing countries. In a clinical study conducted in rural villages in India, women who received the drug after birth were less likely to have serious postpartum bleeding, and had significantly lower average blood loss, than women who received placebo. The study was funded by the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research, a public-private partnership between NICHD and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Leading scientists and experts on women's health joined study participants for a 2-day conference at NIH. Attendees discussed the findings, public health impact, and future directions of the Women's Health Initiative — the largest and most comprehensive study of postmenopausal women's health ever conducted in the United States.
The NIH Pathway to Independence Award program introduced a new opportunity for promising postdoctoral scientists to receive both mentored and independent research support from the same award. Announced in January, the program answers a National Academy of Sciences call for new ways to help early-career scientific investigators progress from postdoctoral studies to running their own research programs.
NIH created a plan for continuity of operations should a pandemic flu outbreak occur. The goal is to maintain critical operations and protect patients, visitors, and employees — as well as animals and ongoing research — in the event of widespread infectious disease or other emergencies.
The first comprehensive analysis of an animal's reaction to the 1918 influenza virus provided new insights into this deadly flu, which disproportionately killed young people at the prime of life. NIAID-funded scientists found that the 1918 virus triggers a hyperactive immune response that may be the key to its lethal effects. A deeper understanding of the 1918 virus will aid efforts to develop improved therapies against future influenza threats, including the H5N1 avian influenza virus.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Institutes of Health Reform Act of 2006 by a vote of 414 to 2 on September 26; the U.S. Senate passed an amended version by unanimous consent on December 8. The House approved the Senate version by voice vote on December 9. The legislation — NIH's third omnibus reauthorization in history and first since 1993 — affirmed the importance of NIH and its vital role in advancing biomedical research to improve the health of the Nation.
NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni endorsed the conclusions of a National Academies report on women in science, which proposed that immediate, decisive action must be taken to maximize the potential of women scientists. The report found that women currently face barriers to hiring and promotion in research universities in many fields of science and engineering, which deprives the nation of an important source of talent and may reduce U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace.
An imaging molecule known as FDDNP binds to abnormal proteins in the brain and shows promise for enabling early and reliable diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. The molecule was developed and tested by researchers supported in part by NIA, NCRR, and NIMH. When administered to patients before a brain scan, the molecule helps to distinguish among people who are healthy, those with Alzheimer's disease, and those with mild cognitive impairment, which sometimes progresses to Alzheimer's disease.
Thirteen recipients of the 2006 NIH Director's Pioneer Award — 5-Year, $2.5 million grants that support highly innovative research — were announced at the second annual Pioneer Award Symposium. Now in its third year, the award is a key component of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.
NIEHS-supported researchers announced that they had successfully sequenced the DNA of 15 mouse strains most commonly used in biomedical research. More than 8.3 million tiny genetic variations called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were discovered among the 15 genomes. The new data will help researchers better understand complex genetic traits, such as why some individuals are more susceptible to certain diseases, and how environmental agents influence the development of disease.
President George W. Bush visited NIH on January 17, touring a cancer research laboratory and participating in a discussion on cancer prevention. It was his fifth visit to the NIH campus in the past 4 years. The president praised the agency's work, touting the new vaccine against cervical cancer. He was briefed on the Cancer Genome Atlas Project, a 3-year, $100 million collaboration between NCI and NHGRI to create a trove of molecular data describing the genomic changes that occur in all types of cancer.
An experimental vaccine — originally created and tested over the past 2 decades by NIAID scientists — appears safe and effective in preventing hepatitis E, a sometimes-deadly viral disease prevalent in developing countries. A clinical trial involving nearly 2,000 healthy adults in Nepal, where the virus is widespread, found that the vaccine was nearly 96% effective in preventing hepatitis E during a follow-up period of about 2 years.
NINDS launched the new Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials (NETT) network, a nationwide clinical study that will look at emergency interventions for stroke, massive seizure, brain or spinal cord injury, and other major emergencies that affect the brain and nervous system. The long-term goal of the study, conducted in ambulances and hospitals across the country, is to improve medical care in the first minutes and hours after neurological emergencies occur.
By modifying only 4 genes in human skin cells, researchers supported by NCRR and NIGMS found that they could "reprogram" the cells to give them the characteristics of embryonic stem cells. This major advance could open doors to innovative therapies in the future, where people's own cells might be reprogrammed and used to repair their damaged tissues and organs.
EUREKA, a new funding initiative to help researchers with original ideas, was launched by 5 institutes. EUREKA — exceptional, unconventional research enabling knowledge acceleration — awards seek to raise the profile of paradigm-shifting concepts that might otherwise get overlooked.
A collaborative effort by 3 international research teams uncovered new clues about why some people develop type 2 diabetes and others don't. The NIH-funded research relied on a relatively new method, called a genome-wide association study (GWAS), which rapidly and cost effectively analyzes and compares genetic differences between people with and without specific illnesses. The scientists identified 4 new genetic risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni established an NIH-wide working group to address the issues that surround GWAS research, which holds tremendous promise for uncovering new and more effective methods for preventing, diagnosing, and treating disease. Because GWAS science is so new, policies for collecting, storing and using GWAS data have not yet been set. The new working group will gather feedback from the public, examine important issues, and draft an NIH policy.
The International HapMap Consortium, funded in part by NHGRI, published analyses of its second-generation map of human genetic variation. The revised map contains more than 3.1 million genetic variants — 3 times the number reported in the initial HapMap of 2005. The improved HapMap will help researchers find DNA variants that influence the risk of disease and other traits.
NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni met with nearly 200 members of the scientific community to hear comments on NIH peer review, the process of evaluating research grant applications. Over the last 60 years, peer review has been examined several times. The current effort to revitalize the process came as federal funding had receded, the number of experienced reviewers had dwindled, and grant application volume had increased in number and complexity.
The Human Microbiome Project, part the NIH's Roadmap for Medical Research, will explore the role of the trillions of microbes that live within or on the human body. The "human microbiome" is the collective genomes of all these organisms. By analyzing these genomes, the scientists hope to discover what microbial communities exist in different parts of the human body and explore how they change in health and disease.
With this year's NIH Director's Pioneer Awards and the inaugural class of NIH Director's New Innovator Awards, the agency made a major investment in the future of science, distributing 5-year grants totaling more than $105 million to 41 investigators. This is the first group of New Innovator Awards and the fourth group of Pioneer Awards. Both programs are part of an NIH Roadmap initiative that tests new approaches to supporting research.
Scientists identified a tiny, unchanging region on an AIDS virus protein that may be the key to neutralizing the virus. A multi-site research team, including scientists from NIAID and NCI, used X-ray crystallography to take detailed 3-D snapshots of an antibody grabbing onto this stable viral region, which HIV uses to latch onto and infect T cells. Discovery of this potential viral weak spot could have a profound impact on development of an AIDS vaccine.
The Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) consortium, funded by NCRR, added 12 more academic health centers to the 12 announced in 2006. When fully implemented in 2012, 60 institutions will be linked together to energize the discipline of clinical and translational science.
In a September 12 ceremony in the U.S. Capitol, NIH and NASA signed a memorandum of understanding that will help American scientists use the International Space Station to answer questions about human health and disease. NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni and NASA Administrator Dr. Michael D. Griffin signed a pact to collaborate on space-related health research.
NIH research was featured in a new TV series, "Tomorrow's Medicine Today." NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni served as guest-co-host of the discussion shows, taped at Montclair State University studios in New Jersey. Each episode featured interviews with NIH Institute or Center directors, who invited extramural scientists to present their research in lay terms for a general audience.
The NIH Council of Councils, a new advisory body to the NIH Director, convened for the first time on November 8. Created by the NIH Reform Act of 2006, the Council oversees Common Fund expenditures, which pay for broad, trans-NIH initiatives that need support no single institute or center could offer. Council members represent the advisory councils of all 27 Institutes and Centers plus 3 ad hoc representatives. Their mission is to advise the NIH Director about which cross-cutting initiatives to support.
NIH's Public Trust Initiative launched its Partners in Research Program, a unique opportunity for scientists to team up with community organizations. Announced in fall 2007 and set to award grants in 2008, the 2-year pilot was fast-tracked. The goals of the partnerships are to better communicate research results and to make sure the health care needs and interests of the community are included in development of research programs.
A draft environmental impact statement for expansion of the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) to accommodate Walter Reed Army Medical Center's move to Bethesda was released in mid-December 2007, launching a 45-day period for public comments. Between 2,500 and 4,000 workers are expected to be added to the existing NNMC and tenant staff of 7,500, and NNMC outpatient visits are expected to double to about 4,000 per weekday, which is expected to have a major impact on traffic congestion in the area.
Through legislation enacted by Congress, NICHD was renamed the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the institute's 45th anniversary celebration. In the early 1960s, Shriver persuaded her brother, President John F. Kennedy, to include the proposal for an NIH institute focusing on child health and human development in his first health message to Congress. NICHD was then established in 1963.
Two large NIH-funded clinical trials found that taking vitamin E, vitamin C, or selenium does not reduce the risk of prostate cancer or other cancers in older men, as some previous studies had suggested. The results highlight the fact that dietary supplements can sometimes seem beneficial in small observational studies, but large, carefully controlled trials are needed to test whether they really live up to their hoped-for benefits.
NIH began a new process that provides the public with detailed funding information for 215 major areas. Called Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization (RCDC), the new process uses knowledge management and computerized, standardized tools to provide consistent and transparent NIH research funding information.
On May 19, NIH's Office of the Director, Office of Rare Diseases, Clinical Center, and NHGRI launched the Undiagnosed Diseases Program. A trans-NIH initiative, it will focus on the most puzzling medical cases referred to the Clinical Center by physicians across the nation.
NIH-funded scientists identified genetic variations that put people at risk for several common and complex disorders, including breast cancer, gout, lung cancer, schizophrenia, glioblastoma, and blood cholesterol and lipid levels. Their successes relied on genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which scan the genomes of large numbers of people to find genetic variations associated with a particular disease.
On June 2, U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), along with NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni, visited NIH's newest research facility, the Biomedical Research Center (BRC) in Baltimore. The approximately 500,000-square-foot, 2-tower BRC is a leased building on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus, where NIA and NIDA have long conducted intramural research in other facilities.
The NIH Gateway Center — the long-awaited "front door" to the Bethesda campus at Rockville Pike and South Drive near the Medical Center Metro station — opened in July, merging the now-separate pedestrian and vehicle entrances to campus into a single welcoming point.
As of October 1, NIH no longer permitted the use of any tobacco products on the Bethesda campus. The tobacco-free policy replaces smoking regulations that were instituted at NIH in 2002, which restricted smoking to selected outdoor locations. It has long been known that tobacco use has a wide range of negative health consequences.
The Edwin Smith Papyrus, one of the world's earliest known medical documents, has been digitally transformed by NLM into a document that can be perused on a computer screen. The papyrus was written in Egyptian hieratic script around the 17th century BCE, but probably based on material from 1,000 years earlier. The papyrus is a textbook on trauma surgery and discusses anatomical observations and the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of numerous injuries in exquisite detail.
Researchers devised a fast new technique for producing human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that can roam the bloodstream to target and destroy infectious microbes. Using the new method, NIH-funded scientists created fully human influenza-fighting antibodies in a matter of weeks, rather than the months typically needed to generate mAbs.
The first-ever NIH health disparities summit was held December 16-18, gathering together biomedical scientists and research administrators, public health commissioners, community health care providers, and diplomats from around the world. "NIH Summit: The Science of Eliminating Health Disparities" was coordinated by NIH's National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
A study by NIH-funded scientists identified over 300 human genes that play a role in West Nile virus infection. The findings reveal several potential targets for antiviral therapies.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), signed by President Barak Obama on February 17, gave NIH a one-time 34% budget increase of $10.4 billion, a sum meant both to stimulate scientific research and to create jobs. The allotment, part of a $787 billion stimulus bill, must be disbursed withing 2 years, sending NIH's grant-making apparatus into high gear. At NIH, 4 big renovation projects — for the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center, the NIH Clinical Center, Building 3, and NIAID's Rocky Mountain Laboratories Building 7 in Hamilton, Montana — will receive a total of nearly $430 million in building and facilities funds from ARRA.
Three international research teams have detected many tiny and common gene variations that together could account for at least one-third of the genetic risk for schizophrenia. Although none of these variants alone significantly boosts the chances of developing schizophrenia, in combination they seem to exert a powerful effect on disease risk.
NIH released the 565-page Biennial Report of the Director, National Institutes of Health, Fiscal Years 2006 & 2007. Mandated in January 2007 by Congress as part of Public Law 109-482, the document shows how NIH's 27 institutes and centers, along with various other NIH components, work together on the nation's largest medical research enterprise.
Rhinoviruses are a major cause of the common cold and may contribute to about half of asthma flare-ups. Researchers have now completed sequencing the genomes of all the known rhinovirus types, setting the stage for the development of medications and vaccines to combat the viruses.
NIH released its final "Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research" on July 6, after officials spent several weeks reviewing more than 49,000 public comments on the draft guidelines. Comments were received from the scientific community, patient advocacy groups, and medical and religious organizations, as well as from private citizens and many members of Congress.
Although the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test can spot prostate cancer early, annual tests might not lead to fewer prostate cancer deaths, according to a new report. Of over 76,000 men in an NIH-funded study, half were randomly assigned to annual screening with PSA tests for 6 rounds and digital rectal exams (DRE) for 4 rounds. The other men were assigned to usual care. After up to 10 years of follow-up, the death rate from prostate cancer didn't differ significantly between the 2 groups. Follow-up of participants will continue for several more years.
On July 9, NIH hosted the White House's H1N1 Influenza Preparedness Summit, which assembled about 500 emergency managers, educators, school nurses, and public health officials from around the country to discuss how to investigate, monitor, and slow the spread of the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak. NIH launched the first clinical trials of 2009 H1N1 vaccine candidates on July 22.
Regular exercise — with medical supervision — is safe for heart failure patients, improves their quality of life, and may slightly lower their risk of death or hospitalization, according to an NIH-funded study of more than 2,300 patients with heart failure.
On August 17, Dr. Francis Collins was officially sworn in as the 16th director of the National Institutes of Health.
President Barack Obama visited NIH on Sept. 30, 2009, touring a Clinical Research Center laboratory and getting updates on scientific research before delivering a 15-minute speech. He congratulated NIH for distributing the first $5 billion of a $10.4 billion ARRA appropriation by the end of fiscal year 2009.
Dr. Francis Collins said NIH should capitalize on the current supportive environment for global health science. He talked to members of a newly created trans-NIH global health research working group. The high-level group is the result of a 2-year effort by institute and center directors to analyze global health research activities at NIH and explore better ways to coordinate activities, both across NIH and throughout government. The Obama administration has pledged $63 billion to its Global Health Initiative and is seeking input on its approach.
NIH participated in a weeklong series of events comprising the first “Engaging the Public in Research Week,” held October 26-30 on campus. Although NIH has long supported community-based research — 2 of the most prominent investigations being the Framingham Heart Study and the Nurses Health Study — renewed efforts seek to merge the research interests of investigators with the health issues that affect communities. The ultimate goal is to improve the health of everyone — both nationwide and abroad.
NICHD began a research program to enhance newborn screening, which can identify serious, often fatal, disorders at birth so that treatment can begin. As directed by Congress, the program was named in honor of National Football League Hall-of-Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. The Hunter Kelly Newborn Screening Research program seeks to support research to increase the number of conditions that can be diagnosed at birth, to understand the long-term effects of living with these conditions, and to foster development of new treatments.
The catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti's capital city on January 12 dealt a serious blow to NIH research interests there. GHESKIO (a French acronym for the Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi's Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections) was established in 1982 as the first institution in the world exclusively dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS. GHESKIO founder and director Dr. Jean Pape is a longtime NIH grantee. NIH has 27 research projects in Haiti, primarily focused on HIV/AIDS and related conditions.
On February 24, NIH and FDA announced a new partnership — a Joint NIH-FDA Leadership Council — to help ensure that regulatory considerations form an integral part of biomedical research planning and that the latest science is integrated into the regulatory review process. In addition, NIH and FDA will jointly issue a Request for Applications, making $6.75 million available over 3 years for work in regulatory science.
By evaluating the entire genome of a 40-year-old man, scientists pinpointed gene variants linked to cardiovascular disease and several other conditions in the man's family, as well as diseases not known to be in his family. Some variants predicted the man's likely responses to common medications, including certain heart medications. This NIH-funded study provides a glimpse into how whole-genome sequencing might one day be used in the clinic.
An independent panel convened by the NIH Office of Medical Applications of Research determined there is currently no conclusive evidence that taking any substance or engaging in any activity can prevent or delay Alzheimer's disease or cognitive decline. The state-of-the-science group announced its findings on April 28, after hearing 2 full days of medical experts discuss both disorders.
A pill that's currently used to treat HIV infection can also greatly reduce the risk of acquiring HIV among at-risk men. An NIH-funded study of nearly 2,500 men who have sex with men showed that a daily antiretroviral pill led to a 44% decline in the risk of HIV infection compared to men receiving placebo pills. The finding represents a major advance toward HIV prevention.
NLM released the first version of ReUnite, an iPhone app in the Apple iTunes App Store. The software was downloaded by more than 1,000 users in the first week of its release. ReUnite improves on the capabilities of the iPhone app Found in Haiti that was developed in response to the January earthquake. Both apps have been developed as part of ongoing research in NLM's Lost Person Finder project, which seeks to improve post-disaster family reunification technologies.
NIH-supported scientists developed a technique to regenerate damaged leg joints in rabbits. The researchers created porous scaffolds in the shape of leg bone tips and added a gel to aid cartilage development. By 3 to 4 weeks after surgery, the rabbits could move around almost as well as normal rabbits. Within 4 months, both bone and cartilage had regenerated. The accomplishment could point the way toward joint renewal in humans.
NIH will establish an induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) Cell Center, capitalizing on the unique resources of the agency's Intramural Research Program. The new NIH iPS Cell Center is 1 of 7 new initiatives supported through the NIH Common Fund during FY 2010.
A computer model of heart disease in U.S. adults suggested that reducing salt intake by 3 grams per day could cut the number of new cases of coronary heart disease each year by as many as 120,000, stroke by 66,000 and heart attack by nearly 100,000. It could also prevent up to 92,000 deaths and save up to $24 billion in health care costs a year, the NIH-funded researchers estimated.
NIH launched a multi-year study to look at potential health effects from the oil spill in the Gulf region. The Gulf Worker Study is a response to the largest oil spill in U.S. history. NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins pledged $10 million in NIH funding for the study's initial phases and asked NIEHS to lead the research project. Oil company BP will contribute an additional $10 million to NIH for this and other health research. NIH will have full autonomy regarding the distribution of the $10 million, with input from external scientific experts in environmental health who are familiar with the Gulf region.
Nearly 40% of the energy consumed by 2- to 18-year-olds comes in the form of "empty" calories, according to a study by NIH scientists. Half of those empty calories come from the solid fats and added sugars in just 6 sources: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza and whole milk. Experts recommend that kids limit their intake of empty calories to 20% or less of their total calories.
NINDS partnered with the University of Virginia to establish a neurosurgical residency program. The 7-year program, which will enroll the first resident in July 2010, is intended to serve as a model for training neurosurgeon clinician-investigators who are capable of performing translational research.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), also known as the health care reform law signed by President Obama, re-designated the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities to an institute. The official re-designation was announced in the Federal Register on September 13. The law authorizes the new institute to plan, coordinate, review, and evaluate all minority health and health disparities research activities conducted and supported by the institutes and centers.
NCI broke ground on September 22 for a new, expanded administrative and program campus to be open by 2013 in the Shady Grove section of Rockville, Maryland. The new campus will accommodate about 2,100 NCI staff now occupying rental facilities.
The NIH Clinical Center received the 2011 Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award from the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. The award recognized the Center's global reach (149 countries represented), breadth of illnesses under study (575 unique conditions), and record of achievement since it opened almost 60 years ago. As the world's largest clinical research hospital, the NIH Clinical Center has ministered to nearly 450,000 patients since opening.
Treating HIV-positive patients with anti-retroviral therapy early — before their T-cell counts start to drop — can significantly lower the risk of transmitting HIV. In a large NIH-funded clinical trial, researchers selected over 1,700 couples from around the world in which one partner was HIV-positive. Half the HIV-positive patients started anti-retroviral therapy immediately, while the other half received standard clinical treatment. Early therapy reduced the rate of HIV transmission by 96%.
The new NIH Director's Early Independence Awards announced the first 10 grant recipients. The program is designed to accelerate the entry of outstanding junior investigators into independent researcher positions immediately after completing their graduate research degree or clinical residency. The awards were created as part of an NIH-wide effort to empower the biomedical research workforce, particularly through the support of investigators early in their careers.
Avian flu-fighting antibodies rose significantly in adults who received a DNA "primer" vaccine followed by an avian flu shot. In an NIH study, people given the primer, followed 6 months later with an inactivated H5N1 vaccine, had 4 times the amount of antibody of those who received 2 vaccine doses. The technique holds promise for blocking several strains of influenza.
A March 31 symposium marked the launch of the new NIH-Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program, designed to recreate NIH's heyday of clinical research. NIH-Lasker clinical scholars will spend the first 5 to 7 years as independent investigators in the NIH Intramural Research Program. In the second phase, an additional 5 years of funding will be offered to scholars who successfully complete the first phase.
In a novel approach, researchers used computers and genomic data to find new applications for existing FDA-approved drugs. Computer algorithms correctly paired diseases with their current treatments and also found new disease-drug pairs. Two of these drugs were tested in rodent models and effectively treated the paired disease. This new method represents a major step forward in drug discovery.
On September 16, President Obama announced that NIH will collaborate with the FDA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop a chip to screen for safe and effective drugs far more swiftly and efficiently than current methods, and before they are tested in humans. The effort will bring together the latest advances in engineering, biology, and toxicology to bear on complex problem of drug toxicity.
After its first 2 years of operation, NIH's Undiagnosed Diseases Program published a retrospective analysis of its initial successes in patients whose cases have stumped specialists at leading medical institutions around the country. The report focuses on 160 patients of the total 326 cases accepted into the program. In February, the program also announced its first discovery of a new disease, called ACDC, or arterial calcification due to deficiency of CD73.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that more than 150 new FDA-approved drugs, vaccines, and new indications for existing drugs were discovered through research carried out in Federal laboratories, primarily NIH, and other public sector institutions principally funded by NIH over the last 3 decades. Of these 153 new products, 22 arose from inventions made in the NIH Intramural Research Program, the largest single source of the inventive technologies.
NIH launched the new Medical Research Scholars Program to provide mentored training to creative, research-oriented medical, dental, and veterinary students at the NIH campus. This year-long program blends the elements of 2 former, highly successful programs — the NIH Clinical Research Training Program and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute-NIH Research Scholars Program. It is co-sponsored by NIH and other partners via contributions to the Foundation for the NIH.
NIH awarded $143.8 million to challenge the status quo with innovative ideas that have the potential to propel fields forward and speed the translation of research into improved health. The awards are granted under 3 research programs supported by the NIH Common Fund: the NIH Director's Pioneer, New Innovator, and Transformative Research Projects Awards. The Common Fund, enacted into law by Congress through the 2006 NIH Reform Act, supports trans-NIH programs that emphasize innovation and risk taking.
Establishment of NIH's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) marks the start of a new era for NIH and translational science. Congress approved NCATS with the FY 2012 spending bill, and the President signed it into law on December 23. NCATS's mission is to develop innovative methods and technologies designed to reduce, remove or bypass bottlenecks in delivering new drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices to patients with a wide range of diseases and conditions.
In February, the Obama administration announced new efforts to fight Alzheimer’s disease, including immediately making an additional $50 million available for cutting-edge Alzheimer’s research. Investments for FY 2012 and 2013 total $130 million in new Alzheimer’s research funding over 2 years — over 25% more than the current annual Alzheimer’s research investment. The additional NIH research funding will support both basic and clinical research.
A landmark NIH-funded study showed that nerve fibers in the brain aren't just a tangle of overlapping wires. Rather, they form a highly structured 3-D grid, with nerve pathways running parallel to each other and crossing each other at right angles. The finding is part of a larger effort called the Human Connectome Project, which is mapping connections between the brain’s 100 billion neurons.
A new online tool called the Genetic Testing Registry (GTR) will make it easier to navigate the rapidly changing landscape of genetic tests. Genetic tests currently exist for about 2,500 diseases, and the field is expanding rapidly. Frequent updates to GTR will include information on the purpose and limitations of each genetic test; whether it's a clinical or research test; and what is measured. GTR will contain no confidential information about people who receive genetic tests.
To spotlight the science of obesity and NIH’s efforts to combat the obesity epidemic, NIH collaborated with HBO and major research and health organizations to develop “The Weight of the Nation,” a documentary series and public education initiative that highlights this urgent public health problem. Segments of the series were screened at events around the country.
NIH-funded research allowed paralyzed patients to reach and grasp objects by controlling a robotic arm with their thoughts. Scientists taught 2 patients who were paralyzed by stroke — a 58-year-old woman and a 66-year-old man — to mentally control a robotic limb. The advance may help restore some independence and improve quality of life for people who've lost use of their limbs.
Nearly 2 years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, more than 10,000 cleanup workers and volunteers have enrolled in the Gulf Long-term Follow-up (GuLF) study. The study is a national effort by NIEHS to determine if the oil spill led to physical or mental health problems. Recruitment continues, with the goal of reaching 55,000 participants, which would make it the largest health study of its kind.
A worldwide research consortium uncovered the treasure in “junk” DNA, creating a view of the human genome that extends well beyond our genes. The NIH-funded ENCODE project involved over 1,600 sets of experiments on 147 types of tissue. Scientists catalogued many aspects of gene regulation that can affect function. The project's ultimate goal is to identify all functional elements in the human genome, including genes and the DNA in between.
On September 8, NIH hosted a “Celebration of Science,” organized in Washington, D.C., by the Milken Institute and FasterCures. The audience included NIH stakeholders from academia, industry and patient advocacy groups from across the U.S.
Experts recommend that older women have regular bone density tests to screen for osteoporosis. But it had been unclear how often to repeat the tests. An NIH-supported study of nearly 5,000 women reported that patients with healthy bone density on their first test might safely wait 15 years before getting rescreened. These findings can help guide doctors in their bone screening recommendations.
Researchers supported primarily by NIH found that programs to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes make sound economic sense. Despite the money spent on these interventions, they lower overall medical care costs and improve quality of life. Diabetes currently costs the nation an estimated $174 billion per year, including $116 billion in medical expenses and $58 billion in indirect costs like disability and work loss.
The 26th annual NIH Research Festival, held October 9-12, had the theme: “NIH at 125: Today's Discoveries, Tomorrow's Cures.” As the showcase for NIH’s Intramural Research Program, the festival brings people together, invites speakers and students, and celebrates the research conducted by nearly 6,000 scientists working in NIH’s own laboratories.
The FDA approved a new type of rheumatoid arthritis medication that can trace its origins back to basic research at NIH. The drug (tofacitinib) targets Janus kinases, a family of proteins that includes the JAK3 enzyme discovered by NIAMS scientists in the early 1990s. Collaborations with NHLBI later linked JAK3 defects to severe combined immunodeficiency, leading to the idea that drugs blocking Janus kinases might protect against certain autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.
The prognosis is poor for adults with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia when remission is followed by relapse. But in an NIH-funded study, this aggressive form of leukemia went into complete remission in all 5 patients who received an experimental targeted immunotherapy. Promising results in these patients and others with leukemia prompted Science magazine to name this type of immunotherapy as the 2013 Breakthrough of the Year.
On April 2, President Obama announced the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, budgeted at $100 million in year one. In concert with teams from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation, NIH spearheads the effort to accelerate development and application of new technologies to produce dynamic pictures of the brain, which show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought.
A new state-of-the-art facility for pediatric cardiac imaging and intervention, co-established by NIH and Children’s National Medical Center, opened on April 26 in Washington, D.C. The facility highlights a long collaboration combining the cardiac imaging expertise of NHLBI with the renowned clinical care at Children’s. The NIH/Children’s National Interventional Cardiac Magnetic Resonance program focuses on technology development — especially radiation-free MRI — to translate research advances to the bedsides of children.
The FDA approved the first implanted device to treat adults who have advanced retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic eye condition that gradually reduces side and night vision. The device — developed with support from NEI and other federal agencies — includes a miniature video camera mounted on a pair of eyeglasses and an implanted retinal prosthesis (artificial retina) that can improve the ability to perceive images and movement.
In June, NIH announced plans to substantially reduce the use of chimpanzees in NIH-funded biomedical research and designate for retirement most of the chimpanzees it currently supports. NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins accepted most of the recommendations made by an independent advisory council for implementing principles and criteria defined by the Institute of Medicine for use of chimpanzees in NIH-funded research. NIH plans to retain but not breed up to 50 chimpanzees for future biomedical research.
NIH researchers reported that a candidate malaria vaccine is safe and protected against infection in an early-stage clinical trial. Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people each year, most of them young children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Follow-up studies will explore how long protection lasts and whether the vaccine could protect against additional strains of the malaria parasite.
In July, NIH announced that it will establish up to 8 centers of excellence under the new Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, designed to capitalize on the exponential growth of biomedical research data, such as from genomics, imaging, and electronic health records. The new centers will enable the research community to use increasingly large and complex datasets by developing and distributing innovative tools and methods for data sharing, integration, analysis, and management.
In August, NIH fostered an agreement between descendants of Henrietta Lacks — the source of scientifically valuable “HeLa” cells — and researchers who wish to use the historic cell line in their work. Per the agreement, scientists must apply to NIH for access to HeLa genome data, adhere to terms defined by the family, and deposit future data into the database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP).
NIH, along with the majority of the federal government, underwent a furlough from October 1 to 16 that idled 75% of the NIH workforce. Coinciding with the start of FY2014, the shutdown barred any but “excepted” employees — those with responsibility for the preservation of life (human and animal) and property — from coming to work. In the NIH Intramural Research Program, the closure put 2,500 research protocols and 1,500 clinical protocols on hold.
NIH-funded scientists gained significant insights into the many roles that microbial communities and their genes — collectively known as the microbiome — play in human health and disease. Among the major scientific papers published this year were analyses of all the fungi living on human skin; the links between gut microbes and rheumatoid arthritis; and interactions among diet, gut microbes, and both heart disease and obesity.
NLM observed the 15th anniversary of its award-winning consumer health website MedlinePlus, which features content from NIH, other federal agencies, and private organizations. Launched in 1998, MedlinePlus started as a simple Web-based search engine with 22 health topics and has since grown to include more than 950 health topics.
On February 4, NIH launched a partnership with 10 biopharmaceutical companies and several nonprofits to transform the model for identifying promising targets for new diagnostics and drug development. The new Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) aims to improve diagnostics and distinguish targets most likely to respond to new therapies. AMP will invest more than $230 million over 5 years in initial projects that focus on Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
In March, NIH announced that it would open the NIH Clinical Center to non-government researchers through 3-year renewable research grants of up to $500,000 per year. The new program will allow outside scientists to collaborate with NIH investigators in a highly specialized hospital setting as they work toward translating promising laboratory discoveries into improved disease diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.
A 2-day scientific symposium and dedication ceremony, held March 31 and April 1, marked completion of the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center. The facility brings together neuroscientists from 10 institutes and centers across NIH. The center includes 2 buildings that have 500,000 square feet of laboratory space, offices, and shared resources. Phase 1 construction began in 2001 and finished in 2004. Phase 2 included environmentally friendly features that make the facility 25% more energy-efficient than a conventional laboratory building.
The CRISPR genome-editing approach, in development over the past few years, was selected as the 2015 Breakthrough of the Year by Science magazine. In one related study, NIH-funded scientists designed a way to target and destroy specific DNA sequences in microbes, thus removing harmful bacterial genes. The team took advantage of the CRISPR-Cas immune system, which bacteria use to protect themselves against invaders. The researchers modified the system to target genetic sequences associated with bacterial virulence or antibiotic resistance. The approach could be used to develop therapies against pathogenic bacteria, including those resistant to multiple antibiotics.
The FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research and Center for Drugs Evaluation and Research—on NIH’s campus for 73 years—vacated the Bldg. 29 complex in late summer as a result of FDA’s decision to consolidate operations at a new campus in White Oak, Md.. The Bldg. 29 complex consists of 3 interconnected buildings located south of the NIH Clinical Center. The original Bldg. 29 was built in 1960, followed by Bldg. 29A, built in 1968, and Bldg. 29B, constructed in 1994.
NIH-funded researchers completed a draft map of the human proteome—the set of all proteins in the human body. The accomplishment will help advance a broad range of research into human health and disease.
A federal report calls for $4.5 billion for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative over 12 years. The long-term scientific vision—presented June 5 by the Advisory Committee to the Director—maps out a sustained funding commitment to achieve 7 primary goals. NIH efforts will seek to map the brain’s circuits, measure fluctuating patterns of electrical and chemical activity within those circuits, and understand how their interplay creates cognitive and behavioral capabilities.
NIH-supported scientists detailed the first comprehensive 3-D atlas of gene expression in the developing human brain. The resource will help reveal the early roots of brain-based disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.
NIH’s first confirmed Ebola patient—nurse Nina Pham—spent 8 days at the NIH Clinical Center before NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci declared her free of the deadly virus on October 24, after 5 negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests. Pham was the first resident of the CC’s special clinical studies unit, which opened in 2011 as part of a biodefense initiative.
In a series of papers, NIH-funded scientists analyzed the genomes of humans, flies, and worms and uncovered many common and essential features. This comparative genomics research—part of NIH’s ENCODE project—can offer insights into embryonic development, gene regulation, and other biological processes that are vital to human biology and disease.
President Barack Obama visited NIH on December 2, touting progress in the Ebola vaccine development effort. He used his time at what he called “America’s laboratory” to congratulate scientists for delivering a potential Ebola vaccine and to champion scientific research once again as the nation’s most powerful weapon against global health threats.
President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) launched at NIH on February 11-12, when a group of more than 80 scientists, patient advocates, and representatives met to flesh out a proposal first mentioned in the president’s State of the Union address. Components of PMI include an NCI-managed effort that uses cancer genetics to target drugs more precisely and a longer term effort to build a national cohort of more than 1 million participants sharing health and lifestyle data to accelerate biomedical discoveries.
Even as researchers continue to refine current AIDS treatments, NIH-funded teams are making significant progress on other fronts. An experimental HIV immunotherapy reduced HIV levels in infected people for as long as 28 days. Scientists created a compound that could protect animals against a wider range of HIV strains than any previous approaches. And 3 research teams achieved important steps needed to create an effective vaccine against HIV.
NIH celebrated Women’s History Month by adding women scientists to the pages of Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia that has become the go-to reference for millions of Internet users. The English language version contains more than 4.7 million content pages. Since 2001, Wikipedia has grown rapidly, attracting 470 million unique visitors monthly. Women editors, contributors, writers, and representation of women, however, were low. NIH’s real-time all-day edit-a-thon added or improved the profiles of 36 scientists.
An international team of scientists created the world’s largest catalog of human genetic differences in populations around the globe. The researchers examined the genomes of more than 2,500 people from 26 populations across Africa, East and South Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The resource provides a powerful tool for studying how genetic variation can contribute to disease risk and drug response.
NCI scientists helped open the Shanghai Proton Heavy Ion Center, supported by the city of Shanghai and Fudan University in China. NIH staff advised on the set-up of a molecular radiation lab designed to better understand the underlying biological/mechanistic differences between photons, protons, and heavy ions. Worldwide, most cancers are treated with X-rays that are photons. The use of particle therapy with protons takes advantage of the physical dose distribution that enables the beam to stop at the target.
The “epigenome” refers to modifications that don’t affect the DNA sequence itself but affect how cells use the same genome to form different cells and tissues. NIH-funded scientists analyzed more than 100 reference human epigenomes from a broad range of cell and tissue types. In another effort, NIH-supported researchers analyzed gene activity in more than 1,600 samples taken from 175 people. These approaches are yielding new insights into human biology and disease.
The Children’s Inn at NIH celebrated its 25th anniversary with a symposium. Researchers, clinicians, and former residents gathered to highlight various ways since 1990 that the inn has been “a place like home” for nearly 13,000 families. Although located on government property, the inn is a nonprofit charity supported through private contributions. Besides offering a free place to stay, the inn presents residents with a range of therapeutic, recreational, and educational programs and services.
The first NIH Digital Summit brought together communicators, patients, researchers, and health professionals from inside and outside government to talk about the best ways to communicate on digital platforms. The day-long summit comprised 2 keynote lectures, 4 panels, an exhibit/demo area, and several topic tables. Over 1,400 people registered to attend either in person or online. A real-time Twitter feed using #NIHDigital kept attendees engaged in the conversation.
Researchers at NIH and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research found that an experimental Ebola vaccine called VSV-ZEBOV was safe and produced robust antibody responses in healthy adults. The vaccine is 1 of 2 experimental Ebola vaccines being tested in a clinical trial in Africa. Other scientists reported that a newly designed agent was effective in treating monkeys infected with Ebola virus. The therapy is being evaluated in Sierra Leone in infected people.
NIH.gov adopted a “responsive design,” which allows the website to dynamically change and shift. No matter what size screen is viewed, the text, images, navigation, and graphics will re-size fluidly. NIH also launched a Spanish-language health information website, Portal de Información de Salud de NIH. The web page offers free, evidence- based health information from across NIH on topics ranging from child health to aging.
Proteins interact to form functional complexes that can be tricky to study. To learn more, NIH-funded researchers created a draft map of over 1 million protein interactions—an “interactome”—across more than 100 animal species, including people. Understanding such interactions will improve understanding of how the human body works and what can go wrong to cause disease.
This page last reviewed on October 27, 2016