The NIAMS Update is produced and distributed by the NIAMS Science Communications and Outreach Branch. It is an online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleagues.
One of the major areas of focus for the most recent iteration of the historic Healthy People Initiative—Healthy People 2030—is achieving health equity and ensuring that people from all walks of life can access the health care that they need. NIAMS director Dr. Lindsey Criswell describes how the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is finding ways to remove barriers to health care access, a key component to achieving health equity.
Image: Lindsey A. Criswell, M.D., M.P.H., D.Sc.
Using genetic sequencing techniques, NIAMS researchers led by Heidi H. Kong, M.D., M.H.Sc., and researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute surveyed the skin microbiome of patients with atopic dermatitis (also called eczema) to understand the genetic diversity of the bacteria present on the skin and how genetic variants may contribute to disease severity.
Targeted Research to Improve Joint Pain: The Restoring Joint Health and Function to Reduce Pain (RE-JOIN) Consortium
Scientists from the RE-JOIN Consortium are using innovative technology to better visualize and understand joint pain, to help identify non-opioid treatment strategies for chronic pain. This article highlights the research plans of several RE-JOIN-funded scientists. RE-JOIN is part of the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®.
In a HEAL project supported by NIAMS and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, researchers tested non-invasive stimulation on the scalp to calm the brain to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome pain. Patients receiving treatment reported less pain and improvements in the ability to use their hands.
Researchers funded in part by NIAMS have identified a potential target for regenerative therapies in hair disorders. The work suggests a possible role for aged (or senescent) cells in stimulating hair growth.
Melanocytes, the cells that produce the pigment responsible for skin and hair color, arise from melanocyte stem cells. Scientists found that in aging mice, more and more melanocyte stem cells do not migrate into the location and position necessary for making melanocytes during each hair growth cycle. These “stuck” cells may help explain hair graying in older individuals.
NIH researchers and grantee colleagues have identified genomic variants that cause a rare and severe inflammatory skin disorder, known as disabling pansclerotic morphea. The work also identified a drug that significantly improved symptoms in patients.
NIAMS Scientific Director of Intramural Research, Dr. John O'Shea, Elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences
NIAMS Scientific Director of Intramural Research, John O’Shea, M.D., was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences at the conclusion of the Academy’s 160th annual meeting on May 2, 2023. This designation—considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can achieve—recognizes distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
NIAMS Awards Two Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Supplements to Advance Research (STAR) From Projects to Programs—Enhancing NIH Support for Early Career Stage Investigators
The NIAMS STAR program provided two funding supplements to early career stage investigators who have renewed their first NIAMS-funded R01 grant:
Danelle N. Devenport, Ph.D., is an associate professor of molecular biology at Princeton University. She leads a NIAMS-funded research project to better understand the collective polarization and alignment of cells across a tissue—a phenomenon known as planar cell polarity.
Yvonne C. Lee, M.D., is the Helen Myers McLoraine Professor of rheumatology and an associate professor of medicine (rheumatology) and preventive medicine (epidemiology) at Northwestern University. Dr. Lee is the principal investigator of a NIAMS-supported research project studying how rheumatoid arthritis leads to changes in central nervous system pathways responsible for sensing, transmitting, and regulating pain.
The U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) announced its first new program, Novel Innovations for Tissue Regeneration in Osteoarthritis (NITRO). NITRO seeks to use a patient’s own cells to regenerate lost bone and cartilage. ARPA-H was launched last year, modeled on the applications-focused, outside-the-box science sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health Announces Selection of Eight Rare Diseases for the Bespoke Gene Therapy Consortium Clinical Trial Portfolio
The Accelerating Medicines Partnership® Bespoke Gene Therapy Consortium (AMP® BGTC) selected eight rare diseases for its clinical trial portfolio. With the selection, BGTC will begin its work
of streamlining the gene therapy development process to make it more generalizable and accessible for many other rare genetic diseases.
As a leading international journalist on CNN, Zain Verjee’s face was visible to millions of people every day. But she “spent a lifetime hiding” as she dealt with psoriasis, a chronic skin disease that causes itchy or sore patches of thick, red skin with silvery scaling.
FDA Approves First Topical Gene Therapy for Treatment of Wounds in Patients With Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Vyjuvek, a herpes-simplex virus type 1 vector-based gene therapy, for the treatment of wounds in patients 6 months of age and older with dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, which can cause blisters on the skin, with mutation(s) in the collagen type VII alpha 1 chain gene.
NIAMS is operating under the FY 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act signed by President Biden on December 29, 2022.
Next application due date: July 2, 2023
Next application due date: August 7, 2023
Next application due date: August 7, 2023
Application due date: September 12, 2023
HEAL Initiative: Planning Studies for Initial Analgesic Development [Small Molecules and Biologics] (R61 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (RFA-NS-21-029)
Next application due date: October 10, 2023
Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Supporting Exploratory/Developmental Research Focused on NIAMS Core Mission Areas (NOT-AR-23-006)
Next application due date: October 16, 2023
Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Established Data Repositories and Knowledgebases (Clinical Trials Not Allowed) (NOT-OD-23-099)
NIH intends to promote an initiative by publishing a funding opportunity to solicit applications for established biomedical data repositories or knowledge bases. NIH’s goal is to support a seamless repository ecosystem to ensure that data and other digital objects resulting from NIH research can be stored and shared with the research community, in accordance with the goals set forth in the NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science.
First estimated due date: Fall 2023
Joint tissue from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) contains high numbers of B cells (white), the antibody-producing cells of the immune system. These cells produce high levels of the signaling molecule RANKL (green), which stimulate osteoclasts (red), causing bone to break down. Researchers aim to identify the specific B cell subsets and molecular pathways involved in the cells’ harmful effects so that they can find ways to target them selectively. The ultimate goal is to develop new RA treatments with fewer unwanted side effects.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Anolik, M.D., Ph.D., University of Rochester
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NIAMS has developed digital resources in both English and Spanish to help facilitate sharing health information about bones, muscles, joints, and skin diseases with colleagues, friends, family, and community members. On this page, you will find ready-to-use graphics and sample messages to download and share in newsletters, via email, and across social media platforms. The graphics are free to use and share without copyright restrictions. Access the toolkit here.
The NIAMS website now serves as the go-to source for reliable information on osteoporosis, bone health, and related diseases and conditions. Health information previously found on the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center website (bones.nih.gov) was recently migrated to the NIAMS website.
The next NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be a hybrid meeting on August 29, 2023. The meeting will be available for viewing via the NIH videocasting service. A video recording of the recent NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting on June 6, 2023, is available.
Understanding and Restoring Whole Joint Health in Pain Management: An NIH HEAL Initiative Workshop Sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
Look for past videocasts, including:
- 18th Annual Pain Consortium Symposium on Advances in Pain Research (Day 1)—June 2023
- 18th Annual Pain Consortium Symposium on Advances in Pain Research (Day 2)—June 2023
- Autoinflammatory Disease and the Human Condition—June 2023