Notice of Intent to Publish a Request for Applications on Characterizing the Blood Stem Cell Niche

Notice Number: NOT-HL-09-102

Key Dates
Release Date:  July 24, 2008

Issued by
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), (

The purpose of this Notice is to announce the NHLBI’s intention to issue a Request for Applications (RFA) in the Fall of 2008 to fund up to eight awards in fiscal year 2009. This RFA is intended to support a specific area of stem cell research, the blood stem cell niche, an area critical to advancing stem cell biology and its applications to cellular therapeutics including hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.   A focused program will be initiated to foster collaborative research projects including studies that incorporate in vivo cell imaging. 

A critical question for all of regenerative medicine is how tissue stem cells are maintained and regulated in vivo.  The hematopoietic stem cell is the best characterized somatic stem cell, with an extensive library of reagents, models, and assays for its study.  There are incomplete but tantalizing pictures emerging about local and systemic factors, as well as direct cell-cell interactions, to define the ways in which these cells regenerate, differentiate, and function in vivo.  More complete understanding of the myriad conditions essential to sustain these cells could enhance the possibilities for ex vivo expansion, improve engraftment and protect hematopoietic cells from environmental injury, as well as elucidate essential principles of systems biology which will guide understanding of other stem cells increasingly being studied for therapies of non-hematologic organ dysfunction.  Because of the solid basis of existing knowledge, the hematopoietic stem cell represents one of the best opportunities to understand this key biology. 

Insightful approaches are needed to dissect the cellular components and factors involved in the hematopoietic stem cell niche, such as the use of conditional genetic knockout models to test the role of factors from specific cell lineages.  In addition, imaging technology support will be integral to this initiative, as following stem cell engraftment in the niche in vivo is vital for understanding this biology. 

This Notice encourages investigators with expertise and insights into this area of stem cell biology to begin to consider applying for this new RFA.  In addition, collaborative investigations combining expertise in both in vivo cell imaging and stem cell niche biology will be encouraged and these investigators should also begin considering applying for this application. Collaborative interactions among the investigators will be an integral part of the program and innovative applications with the potential to advance this field will be solicited.



Interested parties may contact:

John Thomas, Ph.D.
Division of Blood Diseases and Resources
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
6701 Rockledge Drive, Suite 9130, MSC 7950
Bethesda, MD 20892-7950
Telephone: (301) 435-0065
FAX: (301) 451-5453

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