Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Research

To support research relevant to arthritis, musculoskeletal and skin diseases, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) supports research training and basic and clinical investigations including epidemiology and clinical trials in the areas of skin and rheumatic

diseases and musculoskeletal diseases.

The Division of Skin and Rheumatic Diseases promotes and supports basic, epidemiological, and clinical studies of skin and rheumatic and related diseases.

Studies range from determining the underlying basis and mechanisms of disease (including large genetic studies), to translational and clinical research aimed at the diagnosis, treatment, prediction, and/or prevention of disease.

The skin program supports research in normal and diseased skin including keratinocyte biology and wound healing, and disorders such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and other chronic inflammatory skin disorders; the vesiculobullous diseases such as pemphigus, bullous pemphigoid, and epidermolysis bullosa; acne, alopecia areata, vitiligo, and skin neoplasia.

The rheumatic disease program supports research in the systemic autoimmune diseases and arthritides, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), systemic scleroderma, autoimmune myositis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, spondyloarthropathies, vasculitis, gout, Sjogren's syndrome, and fibromyalgia syndrome.

In addition, the Division supports studies on the extracellular matrix, including research on Marfan syndrome, keloid formation, and pseudoxanthoma elasticum.

The Division also supports biopyschosocial research related to rheumatic, musculoskeletal, or skin diseases.

Topics include behavioral interventions, pain mechanisms, neuroendocrine and neuroimmune mechanisms, behavioral and social research, and epidemiology.

The Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases supports studies of the skeleton and associated connective tissues.

Broad areas of interest include skeletal development, metabolism, mechanical properties, and responses to injury.

Among these diseases and skeletal disorders are osteoporosis; osteogenesis imperfecta; Paget's disease of bone; vitamin D refractory diseases; and rickets and osteochondrodysplasias.

Other areas of interest include treatment of acute and chronic injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive stress injury, low back pain and clinical and epidemiological studies of osteoarthritis.

The Division supports development of new technologies with the potential to improve treatment of skeletal disorders and facilitate the repair of trauma in the normal skeleton.

These include drugs and nutritional interventions, joint replacement, bone and cartilage transplantation, biomarkers and gene therapy.

In addition, bioengineering, sports medicine and musculoskeletal fitness are areas of special research emphasis.

This Division also encourages and supports research on skeletal muscle, its diseases and disorders, and its central role in human physiology and exercise.

Topics include the molecular structure of muscle and the molecular mechanisms that produce force and motion.

Muscle biophysics, cell biology, muscle biology, muscle disorders and therapies, musculoskeletal development, tissue reengineering, and regenerative medicine are encompassed in this area as well.

The Division also supports research into the biology of cartilage, tendons, ligaments, mensisci, and interveterbral discs, including pre-clinical studies on injury and disease conditions affecting these tissues.

NIAMS participates in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

The SBIR program is intended to increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development; to increase small business participation in Federal research and development; and to foster and encourage participation ofsociallyandeconomicallydisadvantagedsmallbusiness concerns and women-owned small business concerns in technological innovation.

The STTR program is intended to stimulate and foster scientific and technological innovation through cooperative research and development carried out between small business concerns and research institutions; to foster technology transfer between small business concerns and research institutions; to increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development; and to foster and encourage participation of socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns and women-owned small business concerns in technological innovation.
Examples of Funded Projects

(1) Pathogenesis of Murine Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; (2) Chemistry and Biology of Collagen; (3) Disability in Valued Life Activities in Persons with Rheumatoid Arthritis; (4) Immunogenetics -- Target Organ Damage in Immune Nephritis; (5) Exercise and Skeletal Muscle Signaling Mechanisms; (6) Molecular Physiology of Neuromusclar Diseases; (7) Biomechanics of Spine Fracture; (8) The Epidemiology and Genetics of Hip Osteoarthritis in Elderly Men; (9) Systemic Implications of Total Joint Replacement; (10) Physiologic Loading for Cartilage Tissue Engineering; (11) Development and Regeneration of Skin Appendages; (12) Nature of Mammalian Cutaneous Permeability Barrier; (13) Genetic Analysis of Bone Structure and Strength; and (14) Epidemiology of Age-Related Bone Loss and Fractures.

Small Business Innovation Research Grant: Development of Diagnostic Probes for Autoimmune Disease.

Agency - Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services is the Federal government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially to those who are least able to help themselves.

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