NHGRI Launches Online Genomics Center for Educators of Nurses, Physician Assistants

An online tool to help educators teach the next generation of nurses and physician assistants about genetics and genomics was launched today by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The tool is part of NHGRI’s effort to address the growing need among health care professionals for knowledge in this area, which is paving the way for more individualized approaches to detect, treat and prevent many diseases.

The Genetics/Genomics Competency Center (G2C2), developed by the University of Virginia in Charlottesville through a contract with NHGRI, is a free, Web-based collection of materials on genetics and genomics designed for educators who train nurses and physician assistants. To access this resource, visit http://www.g-2-c-2.org.

“As we enter the era of personalized medicine, establishing genetic and genomic literacy is an urgent concern for those who educate health professionals. This online resource will provide a valuable new tool for meeting that challenge,” said Jean Jenkins, R.N., Ph.D., NHGRI senior clinical advisor to the director. “In the future, we hope to expand this tool to include other health care professions, such as pharmacists and physicians.”

Emerging Science, Tech Advances Highlight New NIH Common Fund Programs

Programs to create a new center for the study of stem cells and to increase capacity to deal with global health issues were among seven scientific initiatives announced today by NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. The seven research programs are supported through the NIH Common Fund, which encourages collaborative research programs across the NIH institutes and centers, or ICs, to accomplish work that no single IC could do alone. The programs are all scheduled to begin during fiscal year 2010.

“These strategic investments will yield critical new resources, scientific knowledge, and strategic partnerships across a broad landscape of basic biology, behavioral science, global health, and clinical medicine,” said Dr. Collins.

The research programs will distribute $17.8 million in NIH Common Fund (http://commonfund.nih.gov) support in fiscal year 2010, and additional funds in future years. These projects capitalize on emerging scientific opportunities and technology advances to fuel biomedical discovery, strengthen the biomedical community nationally and globally, and hasten the translation of science discoveries into new and better treatments.

NIH and FDA Announce Collaborative Initiative to Fast-track Innovations to the Public

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health today unveiled an initiative designed to accelerate the process from scientific breakthrough to the availability of new, innovative medical therapies for patients.

The initiative involves two interrelated scientific disciplines: translational science, the shaping of basic scientific discoveries into treatments; and regulatory science, the development and use of new tools, standards and approaches to more efficiently develop products and to more effectively evaluate product safety, efficacy and quality. Both disciplines are needed to turn biomedical discoveries into products that benefit people.

Information on Life after Cancer Now Available on NIHSeniorHealth.gov

Older adults who have survived cancer can find out what to expect once treatment ends in Life after Cancer, the newest topic on NIHSenior Health.

Visitors to the site will learn about managing follow-up care, physical and emotional changes, and relationships with family and friends. The topic also addresses how a person’s age and health status can affect recovery and survival. This is important information for older adults who make up about 60 percent of cancer survivors and whose cancer treatments may have been complicated by other aging-related health conditions.

NIHSeniorHealth is a health and wellness Web site geared to the needs of older adults. It was developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), both part of the National Institutes of Health.

Scientists Map Genetic Regulatory Elements for the Heart

Scientists have devised a new computational model that can be used to reveal genetic regulatory elements responsible for development of the human heart and maintenance of its function.

Although the teams focused on the heart, the computational method they developed is broadly applicable to other tissues, and was successfully used to identify regulatory elements for cells of the limbs and brain. Cataloging these regulatory sequences may improve understanding of diseases and lays the groundwork for improved medical treatments.

The research, conducted by scientists at the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and the University of Chicago, is published in the March 2010 issue of Genome Research and is available online.