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Funding News - Research on Therapeutic Opportunities in Progressive Spinal Cord Injury Requested

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The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) requests grant applications for basic studies to define therapeutic opportunities in progressive spinal cord injury (SCI).*

A quarter of a million Americans are living with functional disabilities due to chronic SCI, and each year more than 10,000 new cases of SCI occur in the U.S. Traumatic SCI occurs suddenly, but the physiological and functional changes initiated by the injury progress with time. This request for applications (RFA) seeks SCI research in 3 areas: 1) the potential for repair and the mechanisms that underlie recovery induced by neuroprotection or repair strategies in animal models; 2) the acute, subacute, or chronic stages after SCI that influence cell survival, regeneration, sprouting, and/or recovery of function; and 3) the targeting of therapeutic strategies in animal models to specific clinically relevant stages and types of SCI, based on known pathophysiological processes and anatomical or functional/clinical outcomes.

Areas of potential research interest include: characterization of the mechanism(s) of action of promising therapeutic strategies to determine if the treatment outcome is based on protection, regeneration, impact on circuits outside the lesion area, or other mechanisms; studies to define the progression of therapeutic windows of opportunity following SCI by characterizing pathophysiological processes in animal models as they relate to behavioral outcomes and associated clinical outcomes; studies to determine effective time of administration of a repair strategy, based on known mechanism(s) of action; experimental protocols that incrementally test components of complex therapies to establish their critical contribution to functional recovery in appropriate animal models and stages of injury; utilization of tracing, imaging, or other technologies to detect the long-term fate of implanted cells, their migration, and functional status following implantation into sites in or near regions of SCI; strategies to alter pathophysiological responses to injury in order to prolong or reinstate a window of opportunity for effective repair of the spinal cord; and studies to define progressive changes in barriers to regeneration, and to show under what circumstances targeted strategies that alter these processes can improve outcomes.

APPLICATION RECEIPT DATE: December 23, 2003.

For more information, potential applicants should contact Dr. Naomi Kleitman, Program Director, Repair and Plasticity Cluster, NINDS, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 2204, Bethesda, MD 20892; telephone: 301-496-1447; fax: 301-480-1080; e-mail: nk85q@nih.gov.

*For a more detailed description of this request for applications, please visit the NIH web site at: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-NS-04-004.html