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NIH Offers $19M to Fund Genome-to-Clinic Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health will spend up to $19.2 million in the coming two fiscal years on two programs for the Genes, Environment, and Health Initiative that aim to help move information from genome-wide association studies into the world of clinical medicine.
One program, called “Implementation Planning Grants for Educational, Behavioral, or Social Studies for Translation of Genetic Factors in Common Diseases,” will support research on initiatives studying how healthcare providers and consumers interpret information from genetic studies, as well as the behavioral or psychosocial aspects of clinical application of genetic findings.
Funded through the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, this program will spend up $4.8 million in fiscal 2009 and the same amount in fiscal 2010 to fund between four and eight awards with up to $250,000 in direct costs per year, plus facilities and administrative costs.
NIDDK plans to fund studies on patient or provider education about genetic findings or clinical outcomes of genetic testing; research on patient or provider perceptions of risk factors that may have specific interactions with gene variants; and assessments of responses to the way personal genetic information is used in clinical care and in disease prevention.
The goal is to evaluate how individuals, families, and communities react and respond to newly disseminated data about genetic variants linked to common diseases. NIDDK also wants to support the planning, evaluation, and assessments of both education and communication programs about information from genome-wide association studies.
The projects could include research for developing and evaluating analytical methods to assess responses to clinical applications of genome-wide association data, planning and creating educational tools for healthcare professionals, and developing communication strategies for educating health care workers and patients.
Letters of intent for this program are due October 24.
Another RFA, called “Translation of Common Disease Genetics into Clinical Applications,” also will offer up to $4.8 million per year over two years to fund between four and eight awards.
These studies should focus on prevention, therapeutic interventions, and development of diagnostic, predictive, clinical trial, and epidemiologic tools based on findings from genetic studies of common diseases.
These programs could include clinical studies using information from genome-wide or genetic studies in common diseases, diagnostics development or assessment, the cost-effectiveness of clinical applications of genetic information, and others. NIH prefers that these programs stick to using genes or variants identified through GWA studies, although any relevant allele may be proposed. Studies that address conditions that affect minorities disproportionately are also encouraged by NIH.
According to the RFA, it will “support very limited genotyping and collection of relevant phenotypic data, provided that these form a small part of an integrated translation project.”
Researchers applying for the funds could aim to develop diagnostic tools or algorithms; protocols or pilot data for future studies; training materials for future clinical studies using genetic variants; pilot clinical studies to translate genetic studies into clinical practice; studies to assess the value added by genetic findings in interventions compared to more traditional risk factors, and other related studies.
Letters of intent for this request also are due by October 24.

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