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NIH's new 'Challenge Grants'. Bioethics, 'Nature' on the stem cell EO

Post Edit 3/13/09
From NIH (1):'The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ( the Recovery Act)... [2/17/09] makes supplemental appropriations for job preservation/creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for the fiscal year ending 9/30/09, and for other purposes. As part of the Recovery Act, NIH has designated at least $200 million in FYs 2009 - 2010 for a new initiative called the NIH Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research, to fund 200 or more grants, contingent upon the submission of a sufficient number of scientifically meritorious applications. This new program will support research on Challenge Topics which address specific scientific and health research challenges in biomedical and behavioral research that will benefit from significant 2-year jumpstart funds.'
'High Priority Topics' include '(02) Bioethics' research topics (topics of interest to many lawyers as well):
-Informed consent and data access policies;
-Unique ethical issues posed by emerging technologies;
-Ethical issues in health disparities and access to participation in research;
-Ethical issues associated with electronic sharing of health info.
-Ethical issues raised by the blurring betwen treatment and research.(2)
High Priority Topics, '(14) Stem cells' research topics include among the science projects challenges in using iPs cells.(3)
Nature news online March 9,09 "President's executive order will allow US human embryonic stem-cell research to thrive at last"(4) reports that;

NIH is now working out policies that will allow researchers to apply for grant money from the agency to study some of the hundreds of cell lines created since 9 August 2001, when President Bush limited federal funding to research on lines in existence at that time. Some scientists are already proposing to use the new lines in applications for $200 million in NIH 'Challenge' grants, which will be funded by the economic stimulus package signed into law last month. Details of these grants were unveiled last week (see NIH website).
Estimates of the number of new lines range from 400 to 1,000. Unlike the 21 lines previously eligible for federal funding, many of the lines have been made from embryos that had genetic predispositions to specific diseases, or were derived using 'animal-free' preparations, and thus could be more relevant to laboratory research and preclinical studies.

(4)http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090309/full/458130a.htmlPublished online 9 March 2009 | Nature | doi:10.1038/458130a

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