Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Senator Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Specialized Research Centers Research Centers (P50)

Notice Number: NOT-AR-18-006

Key Dates
Release Date:  April 13, 2017

Estimated Publication Date of Announcement:  May 2017 
First Estimated Application Due Date:  October 2017 
Earliest Estimated Award Date:  July 2018 
Earliest Estimated Start Date:   July 2018

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)


The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), intend to promote an the reissue of an ongoing initiative by publishing a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit new or renewal applications for Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Research Centers.

The NIH expects to make up to three Center awards in response to this upcoming FOA, contingent upon the scientific merit of the applications and availability of funds.

The NIH established the Centers of Excellence program in 2003 as part of an ongoing effort to enhance and intensify research on the muscular dystrophies. These Centers were described in the MD-CARE Act and subsequent reauthorizations in 2008 and 2014, and were named in honor of the late Senator Paul D. Wellstone. The theme of each Center must focus on one or more of the muscular dystrophies, which include Duchenne, Becker, myotonic, facioscapulohumeral, limb-girdle, congenital, oculopharyngeal, Emery-Dreifuss, and others.

The FOA is expected to be published in Spring 2017 with an expected application due date in Fall 2017.

This FOA will utilize the P50 activity code instead of the U54, which was used for prior awards. The scope, funding level, and programmatic requirements of the Centers will not change and NIH Program Officers will continue to promote communication and coordination across the network of Centers.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects

Details of the planned FOA are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

This Notice encourages investigators with expertise and insights into translational and clinical muscular dystrophy research to consider organizing collaborative groups to prepare applications for this FOA. Successful applicants will foster the translation of new scientific findings and technological developments into novel treatments or other strategies for improving the lives of muscular dystrophy patients. Each Center should involve clinical research with direct interactions between researchers and muscular dystrophy patients. Appropriate clinical studies could include natural history studies, biomarker development, early stage clinical trials, patient-oriented studies that facilitate future trials, biopsychosocial studies, health services research, etc. Each Center may also contain basic and/or preclinical translational research, as long as efforts are directed toward the steps required for the development of therapies, including therapeutic target identification, characterization and validation; development of pharmacodynamic biomarkers and surrogate endpoints; animal model development and characterization; candidate therapeutic screening, optimization and FDA-required activities leading to an investigational new drug (IND) application. Applicants should propose multi-disciplinary and collaborative studies that will significantly accelerate progress toward effective treatments or other improvements in patients' lives. Research problems should require substantial collaborative efforts to solve, and thus are best carried out in a center setting. Each Center should have at least one core facility that shares its services or resources with the national or international muscular dystrophy research community, and a training core that promotes the career development of junior researchers. Centers should also have an administrative core to oversee activities in the center as well as organize patient and community outreach activities. Centers supported through this FOA will participate in biennial meetings with the other Centers in the program to promote communication and collaborations.



Please direct all inquiries to:

Tom Cheever, Ph.D.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Telephone: 301-594-5019

Glen Nuckolls, Ph.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-5876

Danuta Krotoski, Ph.D.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Telephone: 301-495-5576

Jonathan R. Kaltman, M.D.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Telephone: 301-435-0510