NIH funding opportunity – Integrative Research on Polysubstance Abuse and Addiction (R21/R33)

May 31, 2016 by School of Medicine Webmaster

The intent of this FOA is two-fold: (1) characterize how the neurobiological alterations, associated behaviors, and public health consequences arising from polysubstance use differ from, or are similar to, those observed in single drug use; (2) promote integrative polysubstance research along a translational pipeline, consisting of basic science research in animals, human-based laboratory investigations, and epidemiological studies. These dual objectives will be accomplished with a Phased Innovation (R21/R33) mechanism, where polysubstance research can occur in any of these translational stages during the R21 phase and these findings will be rapidly back- or forward-integrated into another stage during the R33 phase, allowing for bi-directional research exchange.

Research Focus

Epidemiological data indicate that polysubstance use (PSU) is associated with worse health and social outcomes than single drug use. Hence, the intent of this announcement is to identify the underlying mechanisms and processes that mediate this vulnerability. Additionally, the structure of this mechanism will allow for more direct and timely communication of findings along a translational continuum, consisting of basic science research in animals, human-based laboratory studies, and epidemiological investigations. To facilitate the translation of findings, applicants should focus on two primary drugs of abuse in research supported by this FOA, with the understanding that multiple compounds are used in human abusers. Whenever possible, applicants should relate the outcomes of PSU to single drug use to determine if the findings observed under the PSU condition are distinct from those found under conditions of single drug administration. The comparison of PSU groups to valid pre-existing data sets of single drug consequences is acceptable, but these data sets should be included in the application. Examples of topics where integration of data across the translational stages that can be proposed in the application include, but are not limited to:

  • Health outcomes, such as changes in cancer biomarkers, immune function, toxicity
  • Differences between sequential or concurrent patterns of drug use
  • Developmental differences in patterns of use or combinations
  • Synergistic vs additive neuroadaptations that occur in PSU
  • Trajectories of or influences on relapse incidence and/or rates
  • Social factors involved in PSU versus single drug use trajectories
  • Vulnerable or resilient phenotypes and/or genotypes that predict PSU or response to treatment
  • Differences in treatment strategies (i.e., examine if treatment of one substance improves PSU treatment or if treatment of both substances is the most effective course of action)
  • Prevention/intervention strategies for PSU
  • PSU in vulnerable populations (e.g., neonatal exposed individuals, adolescents, aging populations)
  • Sex differences in the acquisition, maintenance, relapse, or treatment of PSU
  • Measures of antecedent or consequential cognitive, affective, or motivational processes in PSU
  • Identification of molecular pathways, neural circuitry, and neurotransmitter systems that mediate PSU
  • Accelerated transition to compulsive drug use under different drug use conditions or patterns
  • PSU-induced epigenetic modifications

Deadlines:  standard dates and standard AIDS dates apply


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities