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Funding News - Research Sought on Axonal Damage in Multiple Sclerosis

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The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) invites grant applications for research on axonal damage in multiple sclerosis (MS) and strategies for protection and repair.*

MS is the second most common neurological disorder leading to disability in young adults, surpassed only by trauma. The disease is characterized by chronic inflammation and demyelination of the central nervous system (CNS) that over time may result in neurodegeneration. While axonal damage and neuronal cell death are likely to be the major cause of disability in the later, progressive phase of MS, new evidence suggests that even at early stages severance of nerve axons may occur and lead to irreparable nerve damage. Currently available therapies do not appear to significantly impact this tissue loss.

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to: therapeutic strategies for interference with molecular signals blocking axonal repair such as CNS myelin-associated inhibitors and glial scar-associated inhibitors; strategies promoting axonal maintenance and repair in demyelinating disease via delivery of trophic factors or the manipulation of a dysregulated signaling environment; translational or clinical research on the effects of channel blockers on axonal regeneration; development of delivery systems to target neuroprotective and regenerative compounds to MS lesions; exogenous strategies for the delivery of myelin forming cells such as transplantation of stem cells, oligodendrocyte progenitors, olfactory ensheathing cells, neurospheres, and Schwann cells; development of experimental models that mimic the axonal pathology of MS and allow the targeted study of approaches towards neuroprotection, repair, and remyelination under chronic inflammatory conditions; and development and improvement of imaging techniques that allow the characterization and quantification of MS tissue damage and the evaluation of repair strategies.

For more information, potential applicants should contact Dr. Ursula Utz, Program Director, Neural Environment Cluster, NINDS, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 2134, Bethesda, MD 20892; telephone: 301-496-1431; fax: 301-480-2424; e-mail: uu1p@nih.gov.

*For a more detailed description of this announcement, please visit the NIH web site at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAS-06-266.html.