Wednesday, August 15, 2012

NIH to Help Newborns

Newborn screening programs currently genetically screen more than 4 million U.S. infants per year due to the passage of the 2008 Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act. This screening program saves lives by identifying infants who are at risk for congenital disorders so that early interventions and treatments can be started.

NIH released a Funding Opportunity Notice “Genomic Sequencing and Newborn Screening Disorders” (RFA-HD-13-010) on August 9, 2012. The project will be a five year program with $25 million in funding co-funded by NICHD and the National Human Genome Research Institute within NIH. Pilot studies will be funded to determine whether or not having genome sequence information contributes to improved clinical care of newborns.

Funds will be used to stimulate research in three component projects specifically applicable to newborn screening. These component projects would provide for the acquisition and analysis of genomic datasets, perform clinical research, and perform research related to the ethical, legal, and social implementation of genomic sequencing of newborns.

Whole genome sequencing is a laboratory method that can determine the entire DNA sequence of a person’s genetic material or genome from a DNA sample. In recent years, genomic technologies have advanced sufficiently so that it may be possible to use individuals’ whole genome information to enhance medical care, including the care and treatment of newborns.

Eligible organizations to apply for the funding include public, state, and private state institutions of higher education, nonprofits, for-profits to include small businesses, and state and local governments.

The letter of Intent is due October 19, 2012 with the application due November 19, 2012. The earliest start date will be July 1, 2012.