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NHLBI Plans $25M in Funding for Pediatric Genomics of Congenital Heart Disease

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute plans to provide $25 million for a six-year program to fund up to six centers that will focus on using collaborative genomics studies to learn more about the genetic causes of congenital heart disease.
The NHLBI Pediatric Cardiac Genomics Consortium, through a collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, seeks investigators to conduct clinical and translational research that can lead “to a comprehensive understanding of congenital heart disease,” NHLBI said in a request for applications.
The research centers will investigate the genetics and genomics of one or more human cardiac malformations with the aim of identifying genetic influences on patient outcomes and genes that may cause congenital heart disease.
NHLBI plans to award up to $160,000 in direct costs to each of the selected centers in the first year, and that will increase to $535,000 in each of the second through sixth years of the program. The total funding for the program in fiscal 2009 is $1.44 million, and future funding will be commensurate with the beginning of recruitment into clinical protocols.
The PCGC research centers are part of an NHLBI strategic plan that recognizes the “need to accelerate the translation of basic research findings into clinical studies and trials,” the institute said. “The ultimate goal is identification of preventive strategies, therapeutic targets, or risk stratification schemes.”
The PCGC centers may focus their resources on a number of different aspects of congenital heart disease genomics studies including identifying genetic causes and modifiers of common human congenital cardiac malformations, myopathies, and rhythm disturbances; identifying genetic causes and modifiers of anatomically related malformations; association of genetic variants of components of specific regulatory or signal transduction pathways with cardiovascular malformations or syndromes; identifying genetic variations that influence clinical outcomes; pharmacogenomics in congenital heart disease; epigenetic regulation of candidate genes; and the influence of gene-environment interactions on congenital heart disease.
The centers will work with the NHLBI’s Cardiac Development Consortium and with the NHLBI Pediatric Heart Network.
More information about the PCGC program is available here.

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