News Release

Monday, December 3, 2007

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health Announces New Strategic Plan

Institute that coined "risk factor" and pioneered modern cardiovascular, pulmonary, and hematological medicine sets a course for improved public health in the age of personalized medicine.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health today announced a new strategic plan to guide its next decade of research, training, and education to reduce the national burden of cardiovascular, lung, blood, and sleep disorders.

"This plan sets the institute on a trajectory toward preempting disease by using emerging and sophisticated research approaches, adapting to a rapidly changing health care environment, and remaining flexible to invest in new research opportunities that offer the best potential for improving the nation’s health," said Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D, Director, NHLBI.

The plan sets forth three major goals that cover the scientific continuum from bench to bedside and address basic, clinical, and translational research. Realizing the future envisioned in the plan will require collaboration with many other organizations, both public and private, and with other agencies of the Federal government.

Powerful new research approaches in the fields of genetics, genomics, and imaging provide unprecedented opportunities to achieve the one of the three goals: to increase understanding of the molecular and physiological basis of health and disease. An example of a new program to address this goal is one that will link genetic data from long-standing groups of clinical study participants with data about their health indicators and characteristics, and then make the data available to researchers — with appropriate privacy safeguards.

A second goal is to enhance knowledge of the clinical mechanisms of disease and thereby identify better approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Addressing this goal will be enabled by new clinical research networks designed to investigate innovative approaches to promote establishment of standard treatment protocols to test new basic science discoveries and then foster rapid dissemination of research findings to health care professionals and the public.

The final goal is to improve the translation of research into practice for the benefit of personal and public health by seeking a better understanding of the processes for health behavior change. Approaches to be employed include those that will tie the development of guidelines for clinical practice to up-do-date scientific evidence and then promote their use through appropriately designed public education programs.

"We must close the gap between scientific discovery and the effective dissemination of research results into daily health practice, and then use the lessons learned from that effort to stimulate further scientific research," said Nabel.

The NHLBI was established in 1948, and through the years has stimulated discoveries on three of the four leading causes of death in the United States: heart disease, stroke, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

The NHLBI supports a $2.9 billion portfolio of research that spans the breadth of cardiovascular, lung, blood and sleep diseases and disorders. Its collaborative research and education infrastructure supports partnerships with private industry, public organizations, academic institutions and government agencies. More than 600 individuals, including researchers, and representatives of patient advocacy groups and professional societies contributed to the development of the plan.

The NHLBI Strategic Plan: Shaping the Future of Research is available at

To interview Dr. Nabel, please contact the NHLBI Communications Office at: 301- 496-4236 or

NHLBI is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Federal Government’s primary agency for biomedical and behavioral research. NHLBI press releases and fact sheets, including information on the Strategic Plan can be found online at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®