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NIDDK to Grant $30M for New T1D Studies

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases will fund $30 million in new grants that will use a wide range of genomics, epigenomics, high-throughput screening, and other approaches for type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, according to a National Institutes of Health funding announcement.

The Type 1 Diabetes Impact Awards will grant between $2 million and $5 million to as many as 12 individual scientists or collaborative teams "with novel perspectives, new ideas and innovative approaches" aimed at "dramatically advancing" research into T1D.

"Studies should address major unmet needs and/or compelling opportunities and have the potential to dramatically advance the field. Successful projects will be expected to have a significant impact on Type 1 diabetes research and/or therapy," NIH said in the announcement.

The aim of the five-year program is to "foster innovation and creativity in investigators focused on major unanswered questions" related to T1D, in areas such as autoimmunity, finding new biomarkers and imaging tools, diabetic complications, and the possibility of developing an artificial pancreas.

Proposals for this research could include innovations in high-throughput screening, discovery, and analysis; progress in nanotechnology, bioinformatics, and systems biology tools; advances in genetic, epigenomic, and gene x environment (GEI) approaches; development and use of patient sample repositories; therapeutic applications of adult stem cells; and novel imaging agents and technologies.

Specific research efforts could include, but are not limited to: developing epigenomic fingerprints of purified immune cell populations in T1D patients; defining molecular signatures of human pancreatic cells and their progenitors; using novel molecular profiling methods, such as mass spectrometry coupled to laser capture microdissection imaging, to analyze pathological slides from T1D patients; applying epigenomics to define the long-term and long-range modifications that explain organ damage; and identifying and optimizing lead compounds for new therapeutics for T1D and its complications.