Full Text PAS-97-072
 
DEVELOPMENTAL AND GENETIC DEFECTS OF IMMUNITY
 
NIH GUIDE, Volume 26, Number 21, June 20, 1997
 
PA NUMBER:  PAS-97-072
 
P.T. 34

Keywords: 
  PHYSIOLOGICAL/DEVELOPMENT PROCESS 
  Genetics 
  Immunology 

 
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
The Jeffrey Modell Foundation
 
Application Receipt Dates:  October 1, 1997 and February 1, 1998
 
PURPOSE
 
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in collaboration with the
Jeffrey Modell Foundation (JMF), invites investigator-initiated
research grant applications for basic studies to identify the genes
and elucidate the molecular and genetic mechanisms that are
responsible for normal and defective development of the fetal,
neonatal, and
infant/child immune system.
 
HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000
 
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"
a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas.  This Program
Announcement (PA), Developmental and Genetic Defects of Immunity, is
related to the priority areas of maternal and infant health, and
immunization and infectious diseases.  Potential applicants may
obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" (Full Report: Stock No.
017-001-00474-0 or Summary Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00473-1) from
the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office,
Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone 202-512-1800).
 
ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
 
Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign, for-profit and
non-profit organizations, public and private, such as universities,
colleges, hospitals, laboratories, units of State and local
governments, and eligible agencies of the Federal government.
Foreign institutions are not eligible for the First Independent
Research Support and Transition (FIRST) (R29) award.  Racial/ethnic
minority individuals, women, and persons with disabilities are
encouraged to apply as Principal Investigators.
 
MECHANISM OF SUPPORT
 
The mechanisms of support will be investigator-initiated research
project grant (R01) and FIRST (R29) awards. Applications for FIRST
Awards and R01s from new
investigators are particularly encouraged.  The total project period
for an application submitted in response to this PA may not exceed
five years; and a foreign application may not request more than three
years of support.
 
FUNDS AVAILABLE
 
The estimated funds available for the total (direct and facilities
and administrative) first-year costs of all awards made under this
PA, for applications assigned to the NICHD, will be $500,000
($400,000 from the NICHD and $100,000 from the JMF).  In Fiscal Year
1998, the NICHD and the JMF plan to fund two to three R01 and/or R29
grants. Awards and level of support depend on receipt of a
sufficient number of applications of high scientific merit. The usual
PHS policies governing grants administration and management,
including F&A costs, will apply.  Although this program is provided
for in the financial plans of the NICHD and the JMF, awards pursuant
to this PA are contingent upon the availability of funds for this
purpose.  Funding beyond the first and subsequent years of the grant
will be
contingent upon satisfactory progress during the preceding years and
availability of funds.
 
New applications submitted for the October 1, 1997 and February 1,
1998 receipt dates will be eligible for the set-aside funding under
this announcement.  Revised
applications which initially responded to this PA in Fiscal Year 1997
are also eligible.  Competing continuation applications for already
funded projects will NOT be eligible for awards from NICHD and JMF
under this PA. Although the NICHD has a continuing interest in the
research areas of this PA, the latest anticipated award date with
set-aside funds is September 30, 1998.
 
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
 
Background
 
An important mission of the NICHD is to conduct and support basic,
clinical and translational research on birth defects. This includes
basic research in developmental genetics and developmental
immunology.  Of particular interest to NICHD are studies that focus
on the ontogeny of immunity and the genetic defects that give rise to
inherited or primary immune deficiencies.  Currently, more than 70
primary immunodeficiencies of varying phenotypes and severity have
been described.  It has been estimated that approximately 500,000
individuals in the United States are affected, mostly with the mild
forms.  There are, however,
5,000-10,000 individuals, primarily infants and young children, with
the severe, life-threatening forms.  Because long term and/or
intensive treatments are required, the total medical, economic, and
emotional impact on society is enormous.  Recently, more defective
genes causing
immunodeficiency have been identified, cloned, and
characterized.  However, they represent a small percentage of the
many defective genes responsible for primary
immunodeficiencies.  Moreover, the cellular, biochemical, genetic,
and molecular bases and mechanisms underlying most of the primary
immunodeficiencies have not been elucidated.
 
In recent years, the rapid advances in molecular biology and
molecular genetics provide the opportunity and technology for
identifying the defective genes and for elucidating the abnormal
genetic processes that cause the
immunodeficiencies.  These advances will also provide important
information on normal genes and their role and function in the
development of the immune system.  Previous studies of naturally-
occurring human primary
immunodeficiencies and experimentally-induced animal "knockouts" have
been extremely beneficial for identifying defective genes and
studying the mechanisms and factors in normal and defective immune
development.  One goal of this program announcement is to encourage
basic research that will lead to new and improved diagnostic,
therapeutic, and preventive strategies for primary
immunodeficiencies.
 
This program announcement was stimulated in part by a workshop on the
"Molecular Mechanisms of Primary
Immunodeficiencies," which was sponsored by the
Developmental Biology, Genetics and Teratology Branch of the NICHD.
The workshop revealed important gaps in our
knowledge and promising new opportunities and approaches for research
in the molecular and genetic mechanisms of normal immune system
development and primary immunodeficiencies. The workshop was
sponsored partially by the JMF.  The JMF is a non-profit research
foundation devoted to primary immune deficiency.  It sponsors
symposia and workshops; supports research and training; and provides
diagnostic, clinical, informational, and educational services on
primary
immunodeficiency disorders.  The JMF was established by Vicki and
Fred Modell in memory of their son Jeffrey, who died in 1986, at the
age of 15, of an inherited immune deficiency.
 
Scope
 
The objective of this PA is to encourage and promote new and
innovative research and approaches to identify the genes and
elucidate the molecular and genetic mechanisms responsible for normal
and defective development of the immune system. The following are
examples of research topics that are appropriate for this PA;
however, they are not to be considered as exclusive or limiting:
 
o  Identify, clone, and characterize the genes important in the
normal ontogeny of the immune system as well as those mutant genes
which cause primary immunodeficiency.
 
o  Elucidate the cellular, biochemical, molecular and genetic
mechanisms underlying normal and defective
development of the immune system.
 
o  Identify and characterize genes encoding specific proteins that
are critical for normal immune system
development; identify those mutant genes that alter
expression of specific proteins and result in defective immune system
development and immunodeficiency.
 
o  Identify and characterize the genes and proteins involved in
cytokine-receptor signaling pathways; elucidate the molecular
mechanisms of signal transduction that are important in normal and
defective immune system development.
 
o  Identify and characterize X chromosome genes, their products and
signal transduction pathways that are important for normal and
abnormal development of the immune system.
 
o  Identify MHC molecules and their genes that are important in
immune system development; and conversely, identify genetic mutations
that cause defects in the expression of MHC and defective immune
system development.
 
o  Develop animal models (natural and/or experimental) that will be
useful for studying the genes and genetic mechanisms responsible for
primary immunodeficiencies.
 
Applications submitted in response to this PA should focus on
identifying the genes and elucidating the basic
mechanisms responsible for normal development of the immune system
and primary immunodeficiencies.  The areas of interest listed above
are not in any order of priority. They are only suggested examples of
areas of research to consider.  Applicants are encouraged to propose
other areas that are related to the objectives and scope of this PA.
 
INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN
SUBJECTS
 
It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups
and their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported
biomedical and behavioral research projects involving human subjects,
unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification is provided
that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the
subjects or the purpose of the research.  This new policy results
from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law
103-43).
 
All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should
read the "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as
Subjects in Clinical Research," which have been published in the
Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR 59 14508- 14513) and reprinted
in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23, Number 11,
March 18, 1994.
 
Investigators also may obtain copies of the policy from the program
staff listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide
additional relevant information concerning the policy.
 
APPLICATION PROCEDURES
 
Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS
398 (rev.  5/95) and will be accepted on the standard application
deadlines as indicated in the
application kit.  Requests for continued funding of already funded
projects (Type 2) will NOT be considered under this program
announcement.  New applications for set-aside funds may be submitted
only for the October 1, 1997 and February 1, 1998 receipt dates.
Awards for applications submitted on those dates will be made on or
about July 1 and September 30, 1998, respectively.  Application kits
are available at most institutional offices of sponsored research and
may be obtained from the Grants Information Office, Office of
Extramural Outreach and Information Resources, National Institutes of
Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910,
telephone 301/435-0714, email: ASKNIH@odrockm1.od.nih.gov and from
the NICHD program administrator listed under INQUIRIES.
 
For identification and processing purposes, in item 2 of the
application face page, check the box marked "YES."  Type in the PA
number and title, including the requested mechanism (R01 or R29) of
funding.
 
The completed original application and five legible copies must be
sent or delivered to:
 
DIVISION OF RESEARCH GRANTS NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH 6701
ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 - MSC 7710 BETHESDA, MD 20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD 20817-7710 (For express mail/courier service)
 
FIRST (R29) applications must include at least three sealed letters
of reference attached to the face page of the original application.
FIRST applications submitted without the required number of reference
letters will be considered incomplete and will be returned without
review.
 
Applicants from institutions that have a General Clinical Research
Center (GCRC) funded by the NIH National Center for Research
Resources may wish to identify the Center as a resource for
conducting the proposed research.  If so, a letter of agreement from
the GCRC Program Director must be included in the application
material.
 
REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS
 
Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS
referral guidelines.  Applications will be evaluated for scientific
and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened in
accordance with the standard NIH peer review procedures.  As part of
the initial merit review, all applications will receive a written
critique and undergo a process in which only those applications
deemed to have the highest scientific merit, generally the top half
of
applications under review, will be discussed, assigned a priority
score, and receive a second level review by the appropriate national
advisory council or board.
 
Review Criteria
 
o  scientific, technical, or medical significance and originality of
proposed research;
 
o  appropriateness and adequacy of the experimental approach and
methodology proposed to carry out the research;
 
o  qualifications and research experience of the Principal
Investigator and staff, particularly, but not exclusively, in the
area of the proposed research;
 
o  availability of the resources necessary to perform the research;
 
o  appropriateness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to
the proposed research;
 
o  adequacy of plans to include both genders and minorities and their
subgroups as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research.
Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be
evaluated.
 
The initial review group will also examine the provisions for the
protection of human and animal subjects and the safety of the
research environment.
 
AWARD CRITERIA
 
Applications assigned to the NICHD will compete for
available set-aside funds provided by the NICHD and the JMF. The
following will be considered in making funding
decisions:  quality of the proposed project as determined by peer
review, program priority and balance among research areas of the
program announcement, and availability of funds.
 
INQUIRIES
 
Written and telephone inquiries are encouraged.  The opportunity to
clarify any issues or questions from
potential applicants is welcome.
 
Direct programmatic inquiries to:
 
Allan Lock, D.V.M. Developmental Biology, Genetics and Teratology
Branch National Institute of Child Health and Human Development 6100
Executive Boulevard, Room 4B01, MSC 7510 Bethesda, MD 20892-7510
Telephone:  (301) 496-5541 FAX: (301) 402-4083 Email:
LockA@hd01.nichd.nih.gov
 
Direct fiscal inquiries to:
 
Mr. E. Douglas Shawver Grants Management Branch National Institute of
Child Health and Human Development 6100 Executive Boulevard, Room
8A17, MSC 7510 Bethesda, MD 20892-7510 Telephone:  (301) 496-1303
FAX:  (301) 402-0915 Email:  ShawverD@hd01.nichd.nih.gov
 
AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS
 
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance No. 93.865 - Research for Mothers and Children. Awards are
made under authorization of the Public Health Service Act, Title IV,
Part A (Public Law 78-410, as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC
241 and 285) and administered under PHS grants policies and Federal
Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not
subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive
Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.
 
The PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract
recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use
of all tobacco products.  In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-
Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in
some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or routine
education, library, day care, health care or early childhood
development services are provided to children.  This is consistent
with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental
health of the American people.
 
.

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