Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Multicenter trials of therapies for rare diseases.

Infrastructure for performing research in rare diseases should be enhanced to allow efficient accrual to multicenter trials.

Submitted by (@marymh)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Many of the malignant and non-malignant blood diseases that fall under the purview of the NHLBI are uncommon though, in aggregate, important contributors to the burden of disease in the US population. Although in some areas, like blood and marrow transplantation (BMT), there exists an infrastructure for multicenter trials, in many areas there does not. This makes testing potentially effective therapies very difficult. The large increase in the number of national BMT trials following the implementation of that network indicates the effectiveness of the approach, which could be expanded to include cellular therapies and other novel approaches.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

The current R01 process does not lend itself to efficient and rapid implementation of trials to test new approaches or to the time needed to complete trials that focus on long-term survival and quality of life endpoints. Even within the existing transplant network, efficiencies could be gained by infrastructural enhancements like a common IRB or government-assisted contracting (i.e., CRADAs), a streamlined process for protocol review (e.g. a one- versus two-step process), etc. Additionally, enhanced ability to collaborate with other organizations or institutes, without undue bureaucratic burden, would allow better use of NIH funds so that more trials could be done.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Mary Horowitz

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80 net votes
114 up votes
34 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Genome Editing and Gene Therapy

There is a critical need for the establishment of strategies that will determine the efficacy, safety, and toxicity of genome editing techniques specifically in hematologic diseases.

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Inherited monogenic hematologic diseases such as hemophilia, beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease are prime targets for future application of genome editing technology. However, studies are still needed to advance our understanding of the biology of genome editing as well as determine which other disorders are amenable to genome editing correction. Emphasis on preclinical research that focuses on determining the accuracy, safety and efficiency of this technology in order to help minimize off-target mutations and reduce toxicity, is essential for effective translation of this technology into the clinic. Once preclinical efficacy is established, support will be needed for clinical vector production, toxicity testing of the vectors/reagents used, and the performance of clinical trials. The gene correction strategies developed for inherited disorders will also be attractive for other hematologic diseases, and autoimmune disorders like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and type I diabetes). There is also a critical need for supporting preclinical validation studies, scale-up and GMP cell manufacturing, all of which could be shared infrastructures across multiple diseases in the NHLBI portfolio.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Alice Kuaban on behalf of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)

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69 net votes
87 up votes
18 down votes
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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Role of the lymphatic system in heart, lung, blood, sleep health and diseases

What is the role of lymphatic system in normal function of the heart? Do dysfunctional lymphatics contribute to heart failure? Do lymphatics have a role in recovery after MI? It has been reported that lymphatic vasculature transport HDL during reverse cholesterol transfer. Do lymphatics have a role in atherosclerosis? What is the contribution of lymphatic system to asthma or COPD? Does the lymphatic system contribute ...more »

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Understanding how lymphatic system contributes to normal physiology of heart, lung, blood, sleep systems will help also lead to new approaches for treatment of heart, lung, blood, sleep diseases.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Basic understanding of the development and hemodynamics of the lymphatic system and reagents to study the lymphatic function are available.

Lymphatic vasculature is essential for fluid hemostasis in the body, collects and returns the protein- and lipid-rich interstitial fluid to blood circulation, and also involved in immune cell trafficking and inflammation. Given these important physiological roles, function of the lymphatic system is expected to contribute to normal physiology of organs and its dysfunction to major diseases. There is very little or no information how the lymphatic system contribute to health and diseases of the cardiovascular, pulmonary and blood systems, and there are many unanswered questions. Answers to these questions may lead to new approaches for treatment of major HLB diseases. Main challenge is to get heart, lung, blood, sleep investigators interested in studying the contribution of the lymphatic system to heart, lung, blood, sleep health and diseases.

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

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50 net votes
77 up votes
27 down votes
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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Epigenetics and Genomics

There is a need to investigate hemoglobin biosynthesis in order to develop novel approaches to treat sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and other anemias.

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Studies on epigenetic mechanisms have extraordinary promise for the development of transformative therapeutic approaches for non-malignant hematologic disorders, however, limited progress has been made in advancing therapies to counteract the often crippling complications of these conditions. In the case of sickle cell disease, an ensemble of proteins has been implicated in mediating the epigenetic repression of gamma-globin expression, raising the possibility that antagonizing the actions of these proteins to increase gamma-globin expression may be a useful treatment strategy. However, in certain cases, some of these proteins are deemed “undruggable,” based on their structural attributes. There is a critical need to identify druggable components of the multi-step epigenetic mechanisms as well as develop better models and assays that will more effectively identify modulators of “undruggable” proteins. Given the rich proteome and improved technologies available today, studies of proteomics, metabolomics, and regulatory RNAs are likely to reveal promising translational avenues. In addition, approaches to modifying the expression of the components of this pathway are underway using developing gene therapy strategies, such as viral vectors and/or gene editing can quickly advance therapy in sickle cell disease and β-thalassmia.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Alice Kuaban on behalf of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)

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42 net votes
62 up votes
20 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Stem Cell Biology

There is a need to develop an artificial and functional hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) niche that allows for the expansion of repopulating HSCs.

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Methods to expand hematopoietic stem cells have continued to be examined extensively because stem cell numbers in the graft are important for clinical outcomes following transplantation. These numbers are particularly relevant in umbilical cord blood (UCB) transplantation, where low numbers of stem cells are directly related to delayed hematopoietic and immune reconstitution. Improved HSC expansion strategies may significantly impact transplantation outcome, enabling broader applications beyond UCB transplantation. Furthermore, these strategies are also needed to realize the full therapeutic potential of genome editing technologies to correct hematopoietic stem cells derived from patients with hematologic disorders. Since efforts to expand HSCs in cytokine-supported liquid cultures have been largely unsuccessful, efficient expansion will require an appropriate context that is provided by the hematopoietic stem cell niche. Future studies must also evaluate how niche signals regulate stem cell function to optimize cell expansion, and proper humanized mouse models must be developed to help predict stem cell function and regulation by the niche.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Alice Kuaban on behalf of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)

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28 net votes
46 up votes
18 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

RFA on EC-cardiomyocyte interactions in the mechanisms and treatments of cardiovascular diseases

Often under recognized, the cardiac endothelial cells are highly abundant in the heart, and may have important roles in modulating cardiac function, besides simply serving as structural component of blood vessels. Evidences of ours and others have indicated an emerging role of cardiac endothelial cells signaling to cardiomyocytes to mediate important pathophysiological responses. Nonetheless, detailed mechanisms of ...more »

Submitted by (@hcai00)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Successfully addressing this question would no double reveal novel mechanisms and ways of monitoring treatment responses of cardiovascular disease, ultimately leading to novel drug targets, valuable biomarkers and extended new directions of basic research as well.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Tools of studying these cells are mostly available. Both adult cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells from the heart can be isolated and cultured, although cardiomyotyes need to used within 24 hrs and cannot be passaged. However successful preparation of these cells from WT and transgenic animals would permit co-culture experiments and mechanistic studies. These cells can also be studied using in-situ techniques either detecting molecular changes/events or dynamic interactions. Potential challenges would side in selective targeting of these cells, for example, either ECs or cardiomyocytes, once a potential therapeutic is in the testing. Nonetheless, PECAM-ab conjugated techniques have been employed to specifically deliver proteins to endothelial cells, so I am confident most of the challenges can be worked out, particularly within a RFA awardees group with frequent exchanges of ideas.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Hua Linda Cai, University of California Los Angeles

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27 net votes
30 up votes
3 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Identification of autoantigens that elicit pathogenic immune responses in cardiovascular diseases

Pathogenic immune responses participate in the pathogenesis of many cardiovascular diseases. However, the autoantigens and foreign antigens that elicit the pathogenic immune responses have been poorly identified. Currently, the regulatory mechanisms on immune responses associated with diseases got some attentions. But, without detailed characterizations of this wide spectrum of autoantigens and foreign antigens in patients ...more »

Submitted by (@xfyang)

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

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

1) use peptide/protein based microarray to antibody autoimmune responses associated with each major cardiovascular diseases;

2) use MHC tetra-mers or similar techniques to characterize T cell autoimmune responses associated with each major cardiovascular diseases;

3) determine autoantigen repertoire changes in patients' responses to current therapies, especially therapies with immune modulating effects;

4) develop autoantigens-based immune therapies for clinical trials

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Professor Xiaofeng Yang, MD, PhD, Professor Hong Wang, MD, PhD, Professor Klaus Ley, MD

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26 net votes
28 up votes
2 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Stem Cell Biology

There is a need to develop “designer platelets” and “designer red cells,” as well as facilitate large-scale production of these products for therapeutic and diagnostic use.

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The reprogramming of adult stem cells has resulted in the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that can develop into any tissue of the body. These iPSCs ultimately may be used as a transplantable source of stem cells for a variety of hematologic diseases. Although this technology has enabled the generation of patient-specific or disease-specific stem cells that are also amenable to genetic manipulation, the major scientific hurdle has been the ability to create clinically meaningful functional blood products, including transplantable HSCs from differentiating iPSCs. The production of clinically functional blood products -- i.e. red blood cells derived from autologous iPSCs --could replace allogeneic products in highly immunized patients and the generation of megakaryocytes for patient-specific platelet production from iPSCs could drive significant progress in this area. Furthermore, disease-specific iPSCs could serve as targets for both drug development and drug screening in patients with rare hematologic disorders. In addition, support for scale-up and GMP processes, which are difficult to fund via the R01 mechanism will require specific grant opportunities tailored to infrastructure and process development.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Alice Kuaban on behalf of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)

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25 net votes
53 up votes
28 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Treating cardiovascular disease in persons with mental health disorders

How can we most effectively prevent and treat cardiovascular disease among persons with serious mental disorders?

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 :

Clinical anxiety disorders affects 40 million people in the US and the lifetime prevalence of PTSD is 6-8%,. The incidence of PTSD in particular is rapidly expanding in the US; this condition doubles the risk of a cardiac event.

 

The prevalence rates are higher in some populations; 3 out of 10 US military veterans have a diagnosis of PTSD, and many more are undiagnosed. Among patients at a VA, a diagnosis of PTSD increased the probability of circulatory problems (odds ratio 3.7). In another study, every additional PTSD symptom increased the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 17%. Thus, the impact of developing more effective treatments adapted to the needs of this vulnerable population could be significant.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

As the incidence of many mental health disorders such as PTSD and depression increases, the need for developing and adapting treatments for this population becomes critical.

 

Effective treatments may not be optimal for persons with serious mental illnesses and strategies to tailor treatments to the challenges of this vulnerable population are needed.

Individuals with mental illnesses such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders are at significantly higher risk for cardiovascular disease than are those without these illnesses. Those with serious mental illnesses die an average of 25 years earlier, frequently from cardiovascular disease. The incidence of PTSD is rapidly expanding in the US; this condition doubles the risk of cardiovascular events.

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

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19 net votes
30 up votes
11 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Fibrosis Across Organs: Bringing Together Investigators of Fibrosis of the Heart, Lungs and Bone Marrow

Fibrosis can affect essentially any tissue or organ, including the heart, lungs and bone marrow. Effective anti-fibrotic therapy has long been elusive, and transplantation has been the only therapy capable of restoring patient function as fibrotic diseases progress to organ failure. Although these diseases present clinically with organ-specific manifestations, they are now thought to share many common pathogenetic mechanisms. ...more »

Submitted by (@amtager)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

In the aggregate, diseases characterized by fibrosis have been estimated to account for up to 45% of developed world deaths. Fibrotic diseases addressed by the NHLBI include heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and myelofibrosis (MF), among many others. Each fibrotic disease represents an area of great unmet clinical need, as patients suffer and die with no or limited effective disease-modifying therapies. The impact of developing effective therapies for each of these diseases individually would be great; the impact of developing therapies effective for the entire class of fibrotic diseases across organs would truly be enormous. The clinical burden of HFpEF is staggering – more than 650,000 new patients are diagnosed with heart failure in the US each year, half with diastolic dysfunction. Although not as prevalent, IPF and MF are particularly lethal. IPF has a median survival of approximately three years. MF is arguably the most aggressive of the myeloproliferative disorders and is associated with significantly shortened survival. Although agents such as spironolactone have been unable to treat fibrosis in HFpEF as yet, two anti-fibrotic drugs, pirfenidone and nintedanib, have now been shown to slow progression of IPF, and the oral JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib has been shown to improve MF survival. These early successes underscore the great impact that developing effective anti-fibrotic therapies will have.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

This challenge could be addressed by funding research efforts to identify and therapeutically target fundamental pathogenetic mechanisms shared by fibrotic diseases across organs. Although fibrotic diseases present clinically with organ-specific manifestations, there has been a growing appreciation of that these diseases share many aspects of their pathogenesis. Fibrosis In many of these diseases results from recurrent or non-resolving epithelial or endothelial injury, followed by over-exuberant or aberrant mesenchymal cell responses. Across all organs, these processes result in the pathologic accumulation of fibroblasts and extracellular matrix, with distortion of organ architecture and loss of organ function. Core pathways leading to epithelial and endothelial cell injury and senescence, to fibroblast accumulation and persistence, and to altered matrix biochemical and biomechanical properties, are now being identified. Therapeutics developed to target these core pathways could have broad clinical applicability. Funding initiatives aimed at better the characterization of core fibrotic pathways already identified, the identification of new core fibrotic pathways, and the development of therapies to target core fibrotic pathways, could allow the NHLBI to simultaneously and cost-effectively address the great unmet needs of the large patients with any of the many devastating fibrotic diseases that affect the heart, lungs and bone marrow.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Andrew M. Tager

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16 net votes
20 up votes
4 down votes
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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

New Approaches to study interactions of blood cells with components of the vascular wall

To eventually modulate pathologic communication processes employing new therapeutics, there is a need to better understand the transcellular communication between blood cells and components of the vascular layer in vivo.

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 :

A better understanding of this largely unrecognized and underappreciated form of transcellular communication would allow us to use the information to not only detect disease at its very earliest stages, but perhaps also modulate pathologic communication processes employing new therapeutics.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

It is now feasible to address this CQ because of the availability of techniques such as atomic force microscopy, multi-photon intravital microscopy, computational and experimental approaches.

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

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15 net votes
25 up votes
10 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Immunologic Treatment of Hematologic Malignancies

How can the use of CAR T-cell and checkpoint blockade strategies be optimized in order to cure hematologic diseases?

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

As the body of evidence continues to grow on the potential applications for advanced immunotherapies, next-generation research must focus on addressing the possible curative effects that checkpoint blockades or adoptive CAR T-cell strategies can have for blood diseases including hematologic cancers. This will require specific research programs to fully understand the optimal role for these therapies within the continuum of care. To optimize these strategies for treatment of hematologic diseases, studies are needed to decipher specific hematologic diseases and circumstances under which these checkpoint blockers and CAR T-cell therapies may be employed as frontline approaches. Furthermore, while the optimal approach for these therapies is unclear, advanced studies are needed to elucidate the potential benefit in combining these promising approaches and whether patients can be better identified a priori for these therapies.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Alice Kuaban on behalf of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)

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13 net votes
28 up votes
15 down votes
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