Part I Overview Information

Department of Health and Human Services

Participating Organizations
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (http://www.nih.gov/)

Components of Participating Organizations
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), (http://www.niams.nih.gov/)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/)
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), (http://www.nichd.nih.gov/)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/)

Title: Muscular Dystrophy: Pathogenesis and Therapies

Announcement Type
This is a reissue of PAS-01-041, which was previously released January 4, 2001.

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

Program Announcement (PA) Number: PA-05-038

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
93.846, 93.853, 93.865, 93.837, 93.838

Key Dates
Release Date: January 7, 2005
Application Receipt Dates(s): Standard dates apply, please see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm for details
Peer Review Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm for details
Council Review Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm for details
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: December 1, 2005
Expiration Date for R21 applications: May 2, 2006
Expiration Date for R01 Non-AIDS Applications: November 2, 2006
Expiration Date for R01 AIDS and AIDS-Related Applications: January 3, 2007

Due Dates for E.O. 12372
Not applicable

Additional Overview Content

Executive Summary

Table of Contents

Part I Overview Information

Part II Full Text of Announcement

  Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
    1. Research Objectives

  Section II. Award Information
    1. Mechanism(s) of Support
    2. Funds Available

  Section III. Eligibility Information
    1. Eligible Applicants
      A. Eligible Institutions
      B. Eligible Individuals
    2.Cost Sharing or Matching
    3. Other - Special Eligibility Criteria

  Section IV. Application and Submission Information
    1. Address to Request Application Information
    2. Content and Form of Application Submission
    3. Submission Dates and Times
      A. Receipt and Review and Anticipated Start Dates
        1. Letter of Intent
      B. Sending an Application to the NIH
      C. Application Processing
    4. Intergovernmental Review
    5. Funding Restrictions
    6. Other Submission Requirements

  Section V. Application Review Information
    1. Criteria
    2. Review and Selection Process
   A. Additional Review Criteria
    B. Additional Review Considerations
    C. Sharing Research Data
    D. Sharing Research Resources
  3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

  Section VI. Award Administration Information
  1. Award Notices
  2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
    A. Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award
      1. Principal Investigator Rights and Responsibilities
      2. NIH Responsibilities
      3. Collaborative Responsibilities
      4. Arbitration Process
  3. Reporting

  Section VII. Agency Contact(s)
    1. Scientific/Research Contact(s)
    2. Peer Review Contact(s)
    3. Financial/ Grants Management Contact(s)

  Section VIII. Other Information - Required Federal Citations

Part II - Full Text of Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

1. Research Objectives

Background and Rationale

Muscular dystrophies collectively have a high impact on health, affecting tens of thousands of people in the United States alone. These diseases are characterized by progressive weakness and wasting of muscles. Many cases of muscular dystrophy represent new occurrences of disease, where there is no prior family history. Though recent research has increased knowledge about genetic defects associated with many forms of muscular dystrophy, there has not been a corresponding improvement in treatment of these diseases. There is a need to learn more about pathogenesis of the diseases and to improve early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common form, affecting approximately one in 3,500 male births. This X-linked disease is characterized by muscle necrosis and regeneration. The regenerative process cannot maintain normal muscle tissue and mass, resulting in progressive muscle fiber loss and considerable elevations in serum creatine kinase. Affected boys usually must use wheelchairs by age 12, with death often occurring in the third decade from cardiac or respiratory failure. The genetic defect leads to absent or abnormal dystrophin, an important structural protein that was unknown until the gene was discovered. A milder variant, Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD), is caused by different defects in the dystrophin gene, that produce truncated but partially functional dystrophin. NINDS, NIAMS and the NIH Office of Rare Diseases sponsored a workshop on Therapeutic Approaches for DMD, May 15-16, 2000, in Bethesda, MD. The goals of this workshop were to address key questions in improving treatments for DMD and identify areas of needed scientific knowledge, impediments, and critical next steps to promote effective therapy. A summary of the workshop may be found at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/news_and_events/proceedings/dmdmtngsummary.htm.

Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is the most common form of adult onset muscular dystrophy. It is dominantly inherited and characterized by muscle hyperexcitability (myotonia), progressive muscle weakness and wasting, cataracts, defects of cardiac conduction, and other developmental and degenerative manifestations. Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a triplet repeat disorder; it is associated with a CTG expansion in an untranslated region of the dystrophia myotonica protein kinase gene on chromosome 19. Larger numbers of repeats are found in more severely affected individuals, and the number of repeats tends to increase from generation to generation, thus explaining earlier age of onset and increased symptoms in subsequent generations (anticipation). A second form of the disease, myotonic dystrophy 2 (DM2), has been shown to be due to a defect on chromosome 3. DM2 appears to be caused by an expanded CCTG repeat, rather than the CTG repeat in DM1. Manifestations of both forms of the disease are similar, though initial weakness is usually in different muscles. One hypothesis for the pathogenesis of DM is that copies of the expanded region interfere with normal expression of other proteins required for maintenance of normal muscle structure and function.

Facioscapulohumeral (FSH) muscular dystrophy is an autosomal dominant form that initially affects muscles of the face, scapulae (shoulder blades), and upper arms. Symptoms may develop in early childhood and are usually noticeable in the teenage years. A progressive skeletal muscle weakness usually develops in other areas of the body as well; often the weakness is asymmetrical. Life expectancy is normal, but some affected individuals become severely disabled, and in some families there is an associated hearing loss. Nearly all cases are associated with reduced number of a repeat element in the distal region of chromosome 4 (4q35). Because there are no known genes in this region, a novel position effect has been postulated to explain the disease phenotype. NIAMS, NINDS, and the NIH Office of Rare Diseases sponsored a Conference on the Cause and Treatment of Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy, held on May 8-9, 2000, in Bethesda, MD. A summary of this meeting may be found at http://www.niams.nih.gov/ne/reports/sci_wrk/2000/fshdexsummary.htm.

The limb-girdle muscular dystrophies (LGMD) are genetically heterogeneous, with both dominant and recessive forms reported. All limb-girdle muscular dystrophies show a similar distribution of muscle weakness, affecting both upper arms and legs. The recessive LGMDs are more frequent than the dominant forms, and usually have a childhood or teen-age onset. The dominant LGMDs usually show an adult onset. In addition to muscle weakness, the creatine kinase (CK) values are elevated in affected individuals, usually 4-10 times the normal values. Four of the recessive forms have been associated with defects in genes coding for the sarcoglycan complex, which, along with dystrophin, helps anchor muscles to the extracellular matrix. More devastating mutations in these same genes can cause severe childhood autosomal-recessive muscular dystrophy (SCARMD).

Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EMD) is a sex-linked form characterized by wasting of shoulder, upper arm, and shin muscles. Joint deformities are common. It also inflicts serious cardiac problems that can result in premature and sudden death. Cardiac involvement may also cause premature death in female carriers. The responsible sex-linked gene has been located (Xq28), and it has been found to code for a previously unknown protein, called emerin, associated with the muscle membrane. Emerin is normally found in both skeletal and heart muscle. Different mutations of this gene may result in the absence of emerin and thus the disease. A few cases have been found in which emerin is normal, suggesting genetic heterogeneity.

Congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD) is a heterogeneous group of severe autosomal-recessive neuromuscular diseases with early clinical onsets. Manifestations of CMD are evident at birth or in the first few months of life and consist of muscle weakness and hypotonia, delayed motor milestones, severe and early contractures, and, often, joint deformities. Some forms of CMD are associated with central nervous system (CNS) malformations. Some cases of CMD have been attributed to the absence of merosin, a component of laminin. Laminin is the extracellular component of the complex that, together with dystrophin and associated glycoproteins, anchors the muscle cell. The same gene is responsible for one of the animal models of muscular dystrophy, the dy/dy mouse.

Despite advances in understanding genetic and molecular defects that cause muscular dystrophies, this knowledge has not yet resulted in improved treatment strategies. To address this problem, the NIAMS, NINDS, and NICHD brought together a Muscular Dystrophy Research Task Force in May 2002 to identify ways to increase the level of understanding of muscular dystrophies and promote advances in diagnosis and treatment. Several research priorities are listed in the summary of this meeting available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/ne/reports/sci_wrk/2002/mdmeet.htm. Subsequently, in January 2003, a group met to explore in more detail approaches for improving treatment for muscular dystrophy. A summary of this meeting is available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/ne/reports/sci_wrk/2003/mdmeet2003.htm#summary. The group discussed opportunities to improve treatment, including the areas of vector development for gene-based treatments, cell-based treatments, and pharmacologic approaches to promote muscle maintenance, repair and regeneration.

In December 2001, the President signed into law the Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance, Research and Education Amendments of 2001 (the MD-CARE Act, Public Law 107-84). As a provision of the law, the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services established the Muscular Dystrophy Interagency Coordinating Committee (MDCC). The MDCC, with advice from muscular dystrophy researchers around the country, developed the Muscular Dystrophy Research and Education Plan for the NIH, a comprehensive plan for conducting and supporting research and education on muscular dystrophies. This plan was submitted to Congress in 2004 and a copy is available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/find_people/groups/mdcc/index.htm. This plan reinforces the need for understanding mechanisms of disease, efficient screening/diagnosis, effective treatment strategies, research related to rehabilitation, quality of life and psychosocial issues, and clinical and basic research infrastructure. It is the aim of this program announcement to promote research identified as priorities in the MDCC Research and Education Plan.

Scope and Objectives

A principal goal of this initiative is to promote research that will lead to better treatment for all muscular dystrophies. The NIAMS, NINDS, NICHD and NHLBI encourage investigator-initiated research grant applications to study therapeutic and pathogenic approaches. Special emphasis is on areas discussed in the MDCC Research and Education Plan and the reports of recent meetings held at the NIH on DMD and FSHD referenced above. Important research priorities include studies on gene and stem cell therapies, pharmacological approaches to treatment, and clarification of the role of inflammatory mechanisms. Topics for research projects can include screening and/or diagnosis, understanding disease mechanisms, treatment strategies, and improving quality of life, and can include studies in appropriate animal models or preclinical or clinical studies in patients. Program staff must be contacted prior to submitting a proposal that includes a clinical trial or interventional study in humans.

Investigators with diverse scientific interests are invited to apply their expertise in basic, translational, or clinical research to enhance our understanding of the pathogenesis and treatment of the muscular dystrophies. Applicants are encouraged to develop innovative and novel approaches for studying and treating these diseases. Examples that illustrate possible areas of research are presented below. They are intended only to provide a broad direction for research and should be considered illustrative and not restrictive. General examples of appropriate research topics include:

Understanding Mechanisms of Disease

Screening/Diagnosis

Treatment Strategies

Rehabilitation, Quality of Life, Psychosocial Issues

See Section VIII, Other Information - Required Federal Citations, for policies related to this announcement.

Section II. Award Information

1. Mechanism(s) of Support

This funding opportunity will use the NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant (R21) (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r21.htm) and the NIH Research Project Grant (R01) (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r01.htm) award mechanism(s). As an applicant, you will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project.

This funding opportunity uses just-in-time concepts. It also uses the modular as well as the non-modular budget formats (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm). Specifically, if you are submitting an application with direct costs in each year of $250,000 or less, use the modular budget format described in the PHS 398 application instructions. Otherwise follow the instructions for non-modular research grant applications.

2. Funds Available

Because the nature and scope of the proposed research will vary from application to application, it is anticipated that the size and duration of each award will also vary. Although the financial plans of the IC(s) provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds and the receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Facilities and administrative costs requested by consortium participants are not included in the direct cost limitation, see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-05-004.html.

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

1.A. Eligible Institutions

You may submit (an) application(s) if your organization has any of the following characteristics:

1.B. Eligible Individuals

Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research is invited to work with their institution to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH programs.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing is not required.

The most current Grants Policy Statement can be found at: http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm#matching_or_cost_sharing.

3. Other-Special Eligibility Criteria
Not applicable

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Information

The PHS 398 application instructions are available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html in an interactive format. Applicants must use the currently approved version of the PHS 398. For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone (301) 435-0714, Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

Telecommunications for the hearing impaired: TTY 301-451-5936.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Applications must be prepared using the most current PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms. Applications must have a D&B Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as the universal identifier when applying for Federal grants or cooperative agreements. The D&B number can be obtained by calling (866) 705-5711 or through the web site at http://www.dnb.com/us/. The D&B number should be entered on line 11 of the face page of the PHS 398 form.

The title and number of this funding opportunity must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the application form and the YES box must be checked.

3. Submission Dates and Times
Applications must be mailed on or before the receipt date described below (Section IV.3.A). Submission times not applicable.

3.A. Receipt, Review and Anticipated Start Dates

Application Receipt Dates(s): Standard dates apply, please see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm for details
Peer Review Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm for details
Council Review Date(s): Standard dates apply, please see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm for details
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: December 1, 2005

3.A.1. Letter of Intent
A letter of intent is not required for the funding opportunity.

3.B. Sending an Application to the NIH

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms as described above. Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the checklist, and five signed photocopies in one package to:

Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD 20892-7710 (U.S. Postal Service Express or regular mail)
Bethesda, MD 20817 (for express/courier service; non-USPS service)

3.C. Application Processing

Applications must be submitted on or before the application receipt dates described above (Section IV.3.A.) and at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/dates.htm. Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by CSR.

The NIH will not accept any application in response to this funding opportunity that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial review unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. The NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed. This does not preclude the submission of a substantial revision of an application already reviewed, but such application must include an Introduction addressing the previous critique.

Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an application, applicants are generally notified of the review and funding assignment within eight (8) weeks.

4. Intergovernmental Review
This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. The Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm (see also Section VI.3. Reporting).

Pre-Award Costs are allowable. A grantee may, at its own risk and without NIH prior approval, incur obligations and expenditures to cover costs up to 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new or competing continuation award if such costs: are necessary to conduct the project, and would be allowable under the grant, if awarded, without NIH prior approval. If specific expenditures would otherwise require prior approval, the grantee must obtain NIH approval before incurring the cost. NIH prior approval is required for any costs to be incurred more than 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new or competing continuation award.

The incurrence of pre-award costs in anticipation of a competing or non-competing award imposes no obligation on NIH either to make the award or to increase the amount of the approved budget if an award is made for less than the amount anticipated and is inadequate to cover the pre-award costs incurred. NIH expects the grantee to be fully aware that pre-award costs result in borrowing against future support and that such borrowing must not impair the grantee's ability to accomplish the project objectives in the approved time frame or in any way adversely affect the conduct of the project. See NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm.

6. Other Submission Requirements

Specific Instructions for Modular Grant Applications

Applications requesting up to $250,000 per year in direct costs must be submitted in a modular budget format. The modular budget format simplifies the preparation of the budget in these applications by limiting the level of budgetary detail. Applicants request direct costs in $25,000 modules. Section C of the research grant application instructions for the PHS 398 at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html includes step-by-step guidance for preparing modular budgets. Applicants must use the currently approved version of the PHS 398. Additional information on modular budgets is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm.

Specific Instructions for Applications Requesting $500,000 (direct costs) or More per Year

Applicants requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs for any year must carry out the following steps:

1) Contact the IC program staff at least 6 weeks (8 weeks for NICHD and approximately 18 weeks for NIAMS) before submitting the application, i.e., as you are developing plans for the study. Please refer to NIAMS policy on applications requesting $500,000 or more per year in direct costs http://www.niams.nih.gov/rtac/grantapps/guidelines.htm.

2) Obtain agreement from the IC staff that the IC will accept your application for consideration for award; and,

3) Include a cover letter with the application that identifies the staff member and IC who agreed to accept assignment of the application.

This policy applies to all investigator-initiated new (type 1), competing continuation (type 2), competing supplement, or any amended or revised version of these grant application types. Additional information on this policy is available in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, October 19, 2001 at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-004.html.

Plan for Sharing Research Data

The precise content of the data-sharing plan will vary, depending on the data being collected and how the investigator is planning to share the data. Applicants who are planning to share data may wish to describe briefly the expected schedule for data sharing, the format of the final dataset, the documentation to be provided, whether or not any analytic tools also will be provided, whether or not a data-sharing agreement will be required and, if so, a brief description of such an agreement (including the criteria for deciding who can receive the data and whether or not any conditions will be placed on their use), and the mode of data sharing (e.g., under their own auspices by mailing a disk or posting data on their institutional or personal website, through a data archive or enclave). Investigators choosing to share under their own auspices may wish to enter into a data-sharing agreement. References to data sharing may also be appropriate in other sections of the application.

Applicants requesting more than $500,000 in direct costs in any year of the proposed research must include a plan for sharing research data in their application. The funding organization will be responsible for monitoring the data sharing policy (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing).

The reasonableness of the data sharing plan or the rationale for not sharing research data may be assessed by the reviewers. However, reviewers will not factor the proposed data sharing plan into the determination of scientific merit or the priority score.

Sharing Research Resources

NIH policy requires that grant awardee recipients make unique research resources readily available for research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community after publication (NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm and http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm#_Toc54600131). Investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a plan for sharing research resources addressing how unique research resources will be shared or explain why sharing is not possible.

The adequacy of the resources sharing plan and any related data sharing plans will be considered by Program staff of the funding organization when making recommendations about funding applications. The effectiveness of the resource sharing will be evaluated as part of the administrative review of each non-competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/2590/2590.htm). See Section VI.3. Reporting.

Section V. Application Review Information

1. Criteria
Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications submitted for this funding opportunity will be assigned to the ICs on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines.

Appropriate scientific review groups convened in accordance with the standard NIH peer review procedures (http://www.csr.nih.gov/refrev.htm) will evaluate applications for scientific and technical merit.

As part of the initial merit review, all applications will:

The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

The goals of NIH supported research are to advance our understanding of biological systems, to improve the control of disease, and to enhance health. In their written critiques, reviewers will be asked to comment on each of the following criteria in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals. Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each application. Note that an application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score. For example, an investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

1. Significance. Does this study address an important problem? If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge or clinical practice be advanced? What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

2. Approach. Are the conceptual or clinical framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, well reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?

3. Innovation. Is the project original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms or clinical practice; address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies for this area?

4. Investigators. Are the investigators appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the principal investigator and other researchers? Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?

5. Environment. Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support?

2.A. Additional Review Criteria:

In addition to the above criteria, the following items will continue to be considered in the determination of scientific merit and the priority score:

Protection of Human Subjects from Research Risk: The involvement of human subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research will be assessed (see the Research Plan, Section E on Human Subjects in the PHS Form 398).

Inclusion of Women, Minorities and Children in Research: The adequacy of plans to include subjects from both genders, all racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups), and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research will be assessed. Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be evaluated (see the Research Plan, Section E on Human Subjects in the PHS Form 398).

Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research: If vertebrate animals are to be used in the project, the five items described under Section F of the PHS Form 398 research grant application instructions will be assessed.

2.B. Additional Review Considerations

Budget: The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested period of support in relation to the proposed research. The priority score should not be affected by the evaluation of the budget.

2.C. Sharing Research Data

Data Sharing Plan: The reasonableness of the data sharing plan or the rationale for not sharing research data may be assessed by the reviewers. However, reviewers will not factor the proposed data sharing plan into the determination of scientific merit or the priority score. The funding organization will be responsible for monitoring the data sharing policy. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing.

2.D. Sharing Research Resources

NIH policy requires that grant awardee recipients make unique research resources readily available for research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community after publication (See the NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps/part_ii_5.htm#availofrr and http://www.ott.nih.gov/policy/rt_guide_final.html). Investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a sharing research resources plan addressing how unique research resources will be shared or explain why sharing is not possible.

The adequacy of the resources sharing plan will be considered by Program staff of the funding organization when making recommendations about funding applications. Program staff may negotiate modifications of the data and resource sharing plans with the awardee before recommending funding of an application. The final version of the data and resource sharing plans negotiated by both will become a condition of the award of the grant. The effectiveness of the resource sharing will be evaluated as part of the administrative review of each non-competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590). See Section VI.3. Reporting.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
Not applicable

Section VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

After the peer review of the application is completed, the Principal Investigator will also receive a written critique called a Summary Statement.

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant. For details, applicants may refer to the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General (http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm).

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Grant Award (NGA) will be provided to the applicant organization. The NGA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document.

Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NGA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs. See Also Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions.

The Notice of Grant Award will be sent electronically to the designated institutional business official listed on the face page of the application or may be retrieved by the institution through its NIH eRA Commons account.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the notice of grant award. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General (http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm) and Part II Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities (http://grants.nih.gov/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm).

2.A. Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award
Not applicable

3. Reporting

Awardees will be required to submit the PHS Non-Competing Grant Progress Report, Form 2590 annually (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/2590/2590.htm) and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage your inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants. Inquiries may fall into three areas: scientific/research, peer review, and financial or grants management issues:

1. Scientific/Research Contacts:

Glen H. Nuckolls, Ph.D.
Director, Muscle Disorders and Therapies Program
Muscle Biology Branch
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
6701 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 800
Bethesda, MD 20892-4872
Telephone: (301) 594-5128
Email: glen_nuckolls@nih.gov

John Porter, Ph.D.
Program Director, Neuromuscular Disease
Channels, Synapses, and Circuits Cluster
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 2142, MSC 9523
Bethesda, MD 20892-9523
Telephone: (301) 496-1917
FAX: (301) 402-1501
Email: porterjo@mail.nih.gov

Mary Lou Oster-Granite, Ph.D.
Chief, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard
Room 4B09G, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD 20892-7510
Telephone: (301) 435-6866
Fax: 301-496-3791
Email: granitem@mail.nih.gov

John Fakunding, Ph.D.
Director, Heart Research Program
Division of Heart and Vascular Diseases
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 9170, MSC 7940
Bethesda, MD 20892-7940
Telephone: (301) 435-0494
FAX: (301) 480-1336
Email: fakundij@mail.nih.gov

2. Peer Review Contacts:
Not applicable

3. Financial or Grants Management Contacts:

Melinda Nelson
Grants Management Officer
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
One Democracy Plaza
6701 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 800
Bethesda, MD 20892-4872
Telephone: (301) 594-3535
FAX: (301) 480-5450
Email: nelsonm@mail.nih.gov

Jeff Domanski
Grants Management Officer
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 3257
Rockville, MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 496-9231
FAX: (301) 402-0219
Email: domanskiJ@ninds.nih.gov

Chris Robey
Grants Management Officer
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8A17, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD 20892-7510
Telephone: (301) 435-6996
FAX: (301) 402-0915
Email: robeyj@mail.nih.gov

Craig Bagdon
Division of Extramural Affairs
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Rockledge II, Room 7206
6701 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-7926
Telephone: (301) 435-0166
Email: bagdonc@nhlbi.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

Required Federal Citations

Use of Animals in Research:
Recipients of PHS support for activities involving live, vertebrate animals must comply with PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/PHSPolicyLabAnimals.pdf) as mandated by the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/hrea1985.htm), and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/legislat/usdaleg1.htm) as applicable.

Human Subjects Protection:
Federal regulations (45CFR46) require that applications and proposals involving human subjects must be evaluated with reference to the risks to the subjects, the adequacy of protection against these risks, the potential benefits of the research to the subjects and others, and the importance of the knowledge gained or to be gained (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.htm).

Data and Safety Monitoring Plan:
Data and safety monitoring is required for all types of clinical trials, including physiologic toxicity and dose-finding studies (phase I); efficacy studies (Phase II); efficacy, effectiveness and comparative trials (Phase III). Monitoring should be commensurate with risk. The establishment of data and safety monitoring boards (DSMBs) is required for multi-site clinical trials involving interventions that entail potential risks to the participants (NIH Policy for Data and Safety Monitoring, NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-084.html).

Sharing Research Data:
Investigators submitting an NIH application seeking $500,000 or more in direct costs in any single year are expected to include a plan for data sharing or state why this is not possible (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing).

Investigators should seek guidance from their institutions, on issues related to institutional policies and local IRB rules, as well as local, State and Federal laws and regulations, including the Privacy Rule. Reviewers will consider the data sharing plan but will not factor the plan into the determination of the scientific merit or the priority score.

Sharing of Model Organisms:
NIH is committed to support efforts that encourage sharing of important research resources including the sharing of model organisms for biomedical research (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/model_organism/index.htm). At the same time the NIH recognizes the rights of grantees and contractors to elect and retain title to subject inventions developed with Federal funding pursuant to the Bayh Dole Act (see the NIH Grants Policy Statement http://grants.nih.gov/archive/archive/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm). All investigators submitting an NIH application or contract proposal, beginning with the October 1, 2004 receipt date, are expected to include in the application/proposal a description of a specific plan for sharing and distributing unique model organism research resources generated using NIH funding or state why such sharing is restricted or not possible. This will permit other researchers to benefit from the resources developed with public funding. The inclusion of a model organism sharing plan is not subject to a cost threshold in any year and is expected to be included in all applications where the development of model organisms is anticipated.

Inclusion of Women And Minorities in Clinical Research:
It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported clinical research projects unless a clear and compelling justification is provided indicating that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research. This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43). All investigators proposing clinical research should read the "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html); a complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_amended_10_2001.htm. The amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition of clinical research; updated racial and ethnic categories in compliance with the new OMB standards; clarification of language governing NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials consistent with the new PHS Form 398; and updated roles and responsibilities of NIH staff and the extramural community. The policy continues to require for all NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) all applications or proposals and/or protocols must provide a description of plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; and b) investigators must report annual accrual and progress in conducting analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.

Inclusion of Children as Participants in Clinical Research:
The NIH maintains a policy that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) must be included in all clinical research, conducted or supported by the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the "NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the inclusion of children as participants in research involving human subjects (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/children/children.htm).

Required Education on the Protection of Human Subject Participants:
NIH policy requires education on the protection of human subject participants for all investigators submitting NIH applications for research involving human subjects and individuals designated as key personnel. The policy is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.

Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC):
Criteria for federal funding of research on hESCs can be found at http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp and at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-005.html. Only research using hESC lines that are registered in the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry will be eligible for Federal funding (http://escr.nih.gov/). It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide in the project description and elsewhere in the application as appropriate, the official NIH identifier(s) for the hESC line(s)to be used in the proposed research. Applications that do not provide this information will be returned without review.

Public Access to Research Data through the Freedom of Information Act:
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to provide public access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) under some circumstances. Data that are (1) first produced in a project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this amendment. NIH has provided guidance at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm. Applicants may wish to place data collected under this PA in a public archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the distribution for an indefinite period of time. If so, the application should include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include information about this in the budget justification section of the application. In addition, applicants should think about how to structure informed consent statements and other human subjects procedures given the potential for wider use of data collected under this award.

Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information:
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued final modification to the "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information", the "Privacy Rule", on August 14, 2002. The Privacy Rule is a federal regulation under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 that governs the protection of individually identifiable health information, and is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside with the researcher and his/her institution. The OCR website (http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/) provides information on the Privacy Rule, including a complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools on "Am I a covered entity?" Information on the impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on NIH processes involving the review, funding, and progress monitoring of grants, cooperative agreements, and research contracts can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-025.html.

URLs in NIH Grant Applications or Appendices:
All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within specified page limitations. Unless otherwise specified in an NIH solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites. Furthermore, we caution reviewers that their anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

Healthy People 2010:
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas. This PA is related to one or more of the priority areas. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at http://www.healthypeople.gov/.

Authority and Regulations:
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at http://www.cfda.gov/ and is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. The NIH Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and discourage the use of all tobacco products. In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early childhood development services are provided to children. This is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.

Loan Repayment Programs:
NIH encourages applications for educational loan repayment from qualified health professionals who have made a commitment to pursue a research career involving clinical, pediatric, contraception, infertility, and health disparities related areas. The LRP is an important component of NIH's efforts to recruit and retain the next generation of researchers by providing the means for developing a research career unfettered by the burden of student loan debt. Note that an NIH grant is not required for eligibility and concurrent career award and LRP applications are encouraged. The periods of career award and LRP award may overlap providing the LRP recipient with the required commitment of time and effort, as LRP awardees must commit at least 50% of their time (at least 20 hours per week based on a 40 hour week) for two years to the research. For further information, please see: http://www.lrp.nih.gov/.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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