Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Translational Research for HIV/AIDS and HLB Health and Diseases

What are the best inroads for the NHLBI to support innovative approaches in the next 5-10 years, especially blood cell therapies based on hematopoietic stem cell and novel gene therapy approaches to control or even cure HIV infection?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

HIV control or possibly even HIV cure could result from developing novel cell therapies, especially hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplants, and might also result from early use of antiretroviral therapy in acutely HIV-infected individuals.

• Transplantation of HSC including engineered cells has the potential to eradicate HIV reservoirs for HIV cure: the Berlin patient treated with HSC transplant remains free of HIV and is still the only patient cured of HIV infection as of today;

• Identification of acute HIV infections through routine blood donor screening and early anti-retroviral therapy for identified HIV-infected donors can limit or even prevent the establishment of HIV reservoirs.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

• The Berlin patient has provided the proof of concept that HIV infection can be eradicated, that is, sterilizing cure can be achieved, through HSC transplantation in combination with other therapies;

• Recent studies have shown that early identification of HIV infection and treatment of infected individuals with anti-retroviral therapy as soon as possible can significantly limit the size of the HIV reservoirs even if such early treatment may not be able to completely prevent the establishment of HIV reservoirs; routine blood donor screening for both anti-HIV antibodies and HIV RNA among blood donors offers unique opportunities to identify acute HIV infections.

 

 

For HIV cure, the challenges include:

 

• Generation of HIV-resistant HSCs in adequate quantity for transplantation;

 

• Efficiency of homing and expansion of HIV-resistant HSC transplants;

 

• Efficiency in replacing HIV-infected cells, including CD4+ resting cells as the major HIV reservoirs, with HIV-resistant HSCs following transplantation;

 

• Efficiency in immune reconstitution by HSC transplants;

 

• Safety of HSC transplantation with needed GVHD to eliminate HIV-infected resting T cells while avoiding irreversible damage to the host.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Translation of an intervention to reduce sudden cardiac death

There is a need to identify and to develop pharmaceutical interventions for patients at risk for sudden cardiac death (SCD).

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Markedly reduce sudden cardiac death in high populations. Lead to a new pharmacologic paradigm for preventing lethal cardiac arrhythmias.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Investigators have already demonstrated in animal models of SCD that inhibition of mitochondrial Na/Ca-exchange is associated with a reduction in ventricular arrhythmias and SCD without a change in corrected-QTC.

Using a novel guinea pig model of heart failure and sudden cardiac death (SCD), researchers (Circ Res. 2014 Jun 20;115(1):44-54) have demonstrated that inhibition of the mitochondrial sodium-calcium exchanger prevents SCD. In people, SCD accounts for 170,000 to 450,000 deaths per year in the US. Basic research focused on identifying cardiac ion channel inhibitors have failed to results in antiarrhythmic drugs that prevent SCD. And although clinical research has thus far failed to identify individuals at risk of suffering a SCD in the general population, subpopulations (for example, those with a low ejection fraction months after suffering a myocardial infarction) have been identified that are at high risk. If an effective pharmaceutical intervention was developed that reduces SCD, deaths in these populations would be markedly reduced. Strategies need to be developed to translate this promising basic science finding into saving lives.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Improving Drug Safety through Precompetitive Research

The lack of transparency in Pharma clinical studies and the incomplete knowledge of the effect of genetic profiles and pharmacological factors on drug toxicities are challenges in decreasing drug development costs and increasing drug safety.

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Precompetitive research and collaborations directed at improving our understanding of the factors underlying adverse patient responses to investigational heart, lung, blood, sleep drugs will help to expedite the drug development process, increase probabilities of success and reduce product development costs.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Several public-private initiatives such as The Predictive Safety Testing Consortium and the Cardiac Safety Research Consortium are underway that address components of this problem. NHLBI can join existing initiatives or formulate its own. In either case, NHLBI’s participation as either an honest broker or a funding source will enable substantive progress on several fronts over a 5-10 year period.

Clinical safety complications and chronic exposure toxicities are a major cause of drug trial failures and recalls and thereby contribute to the high cost of pharmaceutical product development and the rising prices of commercial medicines. Safety problems can usually be attributed to the off-target biological effects of drug compounds or their metabolites. Reducing the safety risks associated with drug development will therefore require us to expand our knowledge around the pharmacological and pharmacogenomic factors underlying adverse safety events. Furthermore, adverse events that occur during clinical studies that are conducted by pharmaceutical companies are not usually shared publicly. This lack of transparency contributes to unnecessary inefficiencies and costs in the drug development process.

Mechanisms for minimizing safety hurdles in drug development include funding precompetitive applied research and promoting collaborations among companies to encourage sharing of clinical failure data.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Animal Models for Translational Research and Drug Development

There is a need to identify and develop suitable animal models (e.g. larger, non-primate animal models) that faithfully predict the outcomes of new medicines and treatments in heart, lung, blood, and sleep (HLBS) disorders prior to human clinical trials.

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

If animal models can faithfully predict the outcomes in human clinical trials of new medicines and treatments, it will reduce the economic burden for the failure of drug development.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Identification of current available animal models;

Development of new animal models with recent advances in mammalian genome projects and gene targeting technologies could be done over the next 5-10 years

Medical research, especially in basic discovery, has benefited significantly from the use of various animal models, such as gene-targeted and transgenic mouse models. However, many discoveries from animal models (e.g. mouse models) failed to translate into human applications.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Need to train and nurture more "translators"!

One of the major challenges in translating from bench-to-bedside and back is communication: the ability of basic and clinical scientists to understand each other's scientific language to be able to appreciate the importance of the other’s research questions and findings.

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Having an increased number of researchers able to connect dots across the continuum of translational research should increase overall success of translation of ideas into health.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

This requires "rearranging" of already existing elements. Within 5-10 years of running specifically designed re/cross -training programs, the effects might be widely visible.

Basic scientists usually do not keep up with the latest outcomes of important clinical studies, and thus might miss important starting points for new basic research (e.g., negative trials that suggest the need for new hypotheses). The great majority of clinical scientists do not attend basic scientific sessions because are turned off by the specialized (dense/obscure) scientific terms used. Those who are interested in being translators have a hard time integrating and surviving in the "opposite camp" (i.e., at many medical schools, basic scientists are expected to bring in all their salary in a clinical department, and clinicians get little protected time for basic research)

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

NIH should promote, rather than deter “fast-track” translational research projects

In the current environment, NIH reviewers actually deter, rather than promote, progress on proposed pre-clinical animal research that is most likely to rapidly translate into clinical breakthroughs in the short term. Scientists should be allowed to focus on critical missing information (roadblocks) needed to accelerate a promising treatment to clinical trials. For instance, at the NHLBI there is currently no study section ...more »

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Yes, large animal studies may often be desirable too. But, the comprehensive information needed can be dramatically accelerated by using small rodents (e.g. by increased “n” and shorter lifespan). Then and if necessary, more focused large animal studies can be used more judiciously before commencing human trials. If a proposed, well-designed, translational study has identified a promising new treatment and the PI seeks to collect critical information to set the stage for clinical trials, he/she should be given the chance to conduct this research instead of being directed toward many years of collecting mechanistic data for something that is ready to move toward clinical study. Later, we can prop our feet on the desk and leisurely design those mechanistic studies knowing that more people are surviving, rather than dying. Rome burns while we play!

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Can be done now by simply fast-tracking studies that may truly accelerate improvements in patient outcomes. Knowing that is works is more important than how it works from the patient standpoint.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Anthony Martin Gerdes

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Incentivizing Earlier Investment in NHLBI-Funded Technologies

How might NHLBI assist its awardees to attract private sector funding or partnerships earlier in the product development process to help bridge the gap between academic discoveries and product commercialization?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Attracting private sector support earlier in the development pipeline would help fill an important funding gap between academic discoveries and product commercialization, enabling products to reach patients more quickly, and improving the return on NHLBI’s investments in basic research.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Some existing initiatives such as the SBIR Phase IIB Bridge and Small Market Awards encourage non-federal investors to invest earlier in NHLBI-funded technologies. In addition, the NCAI is designed to support critical feasibility studies and business case development to de-risk earlier investment by the private sector. These efforts are showing early signs of success, but impact only a small proportion of NHLBI-funded basic research discoveries.

Estimates for the cost of developing a new drug or device range from the hundreds of millions to billions of dollars and 10-15 years to get from the lab to the patient. The NHLBI cannot fully support that development, so private sector support is critical for biomedical technologies to be commercialized. Overall private capital investment in the life sciences is increasing, but it is not being targeted at heart, lung, blood, and sleep technologies or at the seed stage of development. Venture capital investment in heart, lung, blood, and sleep technologies has declined or remained stagnant since 2008 (http://graphics.wsj.com/venture-capital-and-the-human-body/) and seed stage investment from the private sector for early stage high-risk projects is in short supply (PWC Moneytree: https://www.pwcmoneytree.com/HistoricTrends/CustomQueryHistoricTrend).

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

The Investigator's Catch-22: How Can NHLBI Help?

The Critical Challenge is to determine how NHLBI can continue to foster the translational research necessary to allow our researchers to further develop their NHLBI-funded basic science discoveries. Researchers can't readily get a "typical" grant to perform the preclinical and early clinical translational IND-enabling research, and also can't yet attract private sector support without having done the work to "de-risk" ...more »

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Ensuring that NHLBI-funded researchers have the means to further develop promising research discoveries will ensure that NHLBI continues to fulfill its Mission. Providing funding or resources to move basic science discoveries from the lab towards the clinic can expand the research environments, opportunities, and collaborations available to NHLBI investigators and lead to potential new therapies for heart, lung, and blood diseases.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Just as research project itself can take years, if not decades, to accomplish, so too can a cultural shift in our extramural research community. While one may have a different understanding of what constitutes "translational" research depending upon his or her vantage point, in reality it is bi-directional (from bench to bedside and back to bench) and offers possibilities for a wide range of researchers. Engaging established basic scientists in translational research can open new opportunities to them, and younger researchers are likely more familiar and well-poised for new research paradigms and collaborative efforts such as those afforded by the translational development process.

Basic discovery science is appropriately the backbone of the NHLBI extramural research program. But, for any basic science discovery to have a meaningful impact on human health, it must be "translated from the bench to the bedside." These next steps in translation involve a tremendous amount of research that is not amenable to hypothesis-driven grant mechanisms like an R01 or P01. Without access to funding support for early-stage translational work, investigators can be stymied and NHLBI-funded basic science discoveries can languish.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Community Trials for Cardiovascular Health Enhancement

There is a need to initiate innovative community trials that are: theory-based; are integrated multi-component, multi-setting, and multi-level (i.e., they target individual, family, community, and built environment); engage community stakeholders; and use community-participatory research principles to enhance cardiovascular health (CVH) in vulnerable and diverse populations.

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Global impact on cardiovascular health.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

There are smaller scale community interventions but none in the literature that focuses on larger-scale multi-level trials as proposed here. This CQ would target vulnerable and diverse populations to reduce health disparities.

NHLBI supported the stroke belt initiative, and the exemplars in community CV health research: (e.g., the Stanford 5 City Project, The Minnesota Heart Health Program, The Pawtucket Heart Health). The next generation of community CVH research should harness the lessons from these studies, findings for the 8 Americas (Chris Murray), and numerous results from NHLBI cohort studies to implement large-scale community trials for cardiovascular health enhancement.

Resources for a large scale study could be a challenge. Ability to motivate a whole community, to prevent contamination, and to sustain interventions would be a challenge.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Understanding the Genetic & Epigenetic Basis of Congenital Heart Disease?

Over the last thirty years, our fundamental understanding of the genetics and pathogenesis of congenital heart disease has lagged the tremendous advances in the surgical and clinical care of infants with this group of disorders. We need to close this gap with investigation into the genetic basis of congenital heart malformations to develop new models of disease. The goall is translate an improved molecular genetic and ...more »

Submitted by (@jamesr.priestmd)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common congenital malformation and the most common cause of mortality during the first year of life. Approximately 70% of cases occur sporadically without a strong family history or identifiable genetic syndrome, and the primary heritable basis of most non-syndromic CHD has yet to be identified. Studies of affected kindreds, syndromic disease, and more recently genome wide association studies (GWAS) have shed light on a handful of causal loci, while exome sequencing and studies of structural variation uncovering rare de novo variants in trios have yielded only an 8-10% rate of diagnosis in cohorts with CHD. Despite the application of contemporary techniques and study design to genetic discovery in CHD, the majority of the genetic risk for human cardiac malformations remains unexplained.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

One key challenge is that many of the stakeholders including those affected with congenital heart disease (children), along with the physicians make a diagnosis and referral (obstetricians, neonatologists, general pediatricians), are generally funded by other agencies (NICHD). Trans-agency collaboration and cooperation is necessary to improve the translational research structures necessary to improve disease.

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