As we look forward to a new year of research and scientific advances, I am delighted to have this opportunity to share highlights of activities and plans at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The mission of the NIAMS, a part of the NIH, is to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research; and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases.
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Explore This IssueJanuary 2015
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In recent years, the NIH and all federal agencies have been affected by mandatory budget cuts put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25)—often referred to as “sequestration.” In 2014, Congress increased funding for the NIH, restoring some of the funding that was cut. However, because sequestration is a multi-year measure, it may affect NIH in the future. Despite the fiscal situation, this remains an exciting time for biomedical research. We will continue to invest our significant resources wisely to sustain research momentum. We also will leverage our funding wherever possible, for example, by partnering with other organizations to achieve shared goals. To increase transparency and the community’s understanding of how we spend our budget, we publish a series of figures on our website that illustrate the Institute’s funding patterns. A link to the most recent funding plan is included in the additional sources.
NIAMS Long-Range Plan
In September 2014, the NIAMS released its Long-Range Plan for FY 2015–2019. The Plan outlines the Institute’s perspective on research needs and opportunities within its mission and will serve as an important resource for those who are interested in learning more about NIAMS activities. A link to the Plan is included in the additional sources. The Long-Range Plan is not a strategic plan in the conventional sense. Instead, it provides a broad scientific outline for the Institute’s activities over the next five years. We will continue to devote the majority of our extramural budget toward funding the best investigator-initiated research ideas. The new plan will inform the Institute’s priority setting process, while giving us the freedom to adapt to the rapidly changing biomedical and behavioral science landscape.
[AMP] offers an exceptional opportunity to leverage NIH support through partnerships with industry & nonprofit organizations.
Accelerating Medicines Partnership
In keeping with our commitment to support outstanding rheumatology research, in September, the NIAMS and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases funded 11 awards to establish the Accelerating Medicines Partnership Program (AMP) Network in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Lupus. The AMP is a public-private partnership between the NIH, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), pharmaceutical companies and health advocacy organizations. Its goal is to address the high-priority need to speed the development of new therapies by improving our ability to identify the right biological targets for drug development. The program also offers an exceptional opportunity to leverage NIH support through partnerships with industry and nonprofit organizations. Over five years, the AMP RA and Lupus Network will work to identify biological pathways involved in these diseases, understand the differences between individuals with and without disease, and uncover the molecular events that contribute to tissue damage in patients. Researchers will also investigate the differences between individuals with the same disease and explore whether those differences can be correlated with outcomes and responses to therapy. Ultimately, we hope to achieve a comprehensive systems-level understanding of RA and lupus. A link to more information about the AMP is provided as an additional source.