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Funding News - NINDS Announces a New SMA Funding Opportunity

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NINDS is requesting applications to study biomarkers in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

SMA is a disease caused by an abnormal or missing gene known as the survival motor neuron gene (SMN1), which is responsible for the production of a protein essential to motor neurons.  Although the disease can be readily diagnosed, there are no approved treatments for SMA.  Biomarkers are objective ways to measure a disease process.  They also may provide a means to track progression of the disease and to determine if new treatments are effective.  This announcement encourages the study of candidate biomarkers in SMA that may be useful for evaluating new treatments.

This SMA biomarkers study will be the first project planned by the new Neurology Network of Excellence Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT).  NeuroNEXT is a major NINDS initiative designed to streamline the early phase testing of new therapies in patients with neurological disorders.  Biomarkers, which provide information on whether new therapies are having the desired effect in patients, are a critical component in early phase testing.

Letters of intent are due August 1, 2011; applications are due September 1, 2011.

For more information, potential applicants should contact Dr. Elizabeth McNeil, program director, Office of Clinical Research, NINDS, at 301-496-9135 or mcneilde@ninds.nih.gov; or visit http://grants.nih.gov/grants/rfa-files/RFA-NS-12-004.html.