This new FOA comes in R01 and R21 versions. The description below is from the R01 FOA:
This Funding Opportunity Announcement encourages research on the basic biology of the intervertebral disc and on the molecular mechanisms underlying intervertebral disc degeneration. Back/spinal pain, which is a major public health concern in the United States, is strongly associated with intervertebral disc degeneration. Acute low back pain that is serious enough to disrupt daily routines affects about 70 percent of adults sometime during their lives. In the vast majority of patients, low back pain resolves within a few weeks with conservative medical management. Approximately five percent of patients go on to have chronic low back pain, which is defined as pain lasting longer than 12 weeks. Moreover, approximately 11-14 percent of working age adults will experience work-related activity limitations due to neck pain. From 2009-2013 low back pain was the leading cause of years lived with disability globally. Surgical procedures for conditions related to intervertebral disc degeneration are common but do not always reduce pain or restore function. New tissue engineering and regenerative medicine strategies to arrest or reverse progression are currently under investigation. Transplantation of various stem cell populations, such as mesenchymal stem cells, into a degenerated disc holds promise as a strategy for disc regeneration if a disc phenotype can be induced in these cells. Also, stem cells have been identified in human disc tissue, and activation of these cells may facilitate repair. However, these studies are in early stages of development. Despite the clinical need, considerably less published information is available on the development, normal biology, and pathology of the disc. A more complete understanding of these aspects of the intervertebral disc is needed to identify potential treatment targets and strategies for intervertebral disc degeneration.
The NIAMS hosted a Roundtable Discussion on the Role of Intervertebral Disc Degeneration in Neck/Back Pain in October 2014 to identify research needs and opportunities in this important area: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Meetings_and_Events/Roundtables/2014/disc_degeneration.asp
Research gaps in this area are significant and NIAMS invites investigators from all areas of cell biology, bioengineering and orthopaedic research to consider collaborative efforts to address these. NIAMS has identified some areas such as: developmental biology of the IVD; nutrition, survival, signaling, and responsiveness of IVD cells; composition and structure and homeostasis of extracellular matrix; genetic factors related to IVD degeneration; appropriate models for study of IVD; and role of inflammation and immune-mediated factors in IVD disease. However, this list is not exhaustive.
The overall purpose of this initiative is to encourage applications to develop new research directions to accelerate basic research on intervertebral disc biology and the factors that lead to degeneration. Collaborations between investigators currently active in this area of research and investigators from other areas with complementary expertise are encouraged.
Deadlines: standard dates apply
- R01 – http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-16-097.html
- R21 – http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-16-096.html
Filed Under: Funding Opportunities