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National Institute on Drug Abuse

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse

May, 1996

Program Activities

Program Announcements/RFAs

A new prevention research announcement, "Drug Abuse Prevention Intervention Research for Women and Minorities", program announcement PA-96-018, was issued by NIDA on February 2, 1996. The purpose of this program announcement is to solicit research to develop, refine, and test the efficacy and effectiveness of theory-based, universal, selective and indicated drug abuse prevention interventions for minorities and women. The intent is to support research which seeks to combine what is known from drug abuse prevention research with what is known about culturally diverse and/or gender specific experiences.

The Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research issued an amendment to its current program announcements to include research on the Co-Occurrence and Health Consequences of Violence, Drug Abuse, and HIV/AIDS. The amendment appeared in the NIH Guide, Vol 25., No. 6, March 1, 1996. Its purpose is to encourage a range of research on (1) the co-occurrence of these behaviors, (2) their common and distinct correlates and public health consequences, and (3) community-based interventions to prevent and reduce their incidence, prevalence, and adverse health outcomes.

Eighteen proposals have been received thus far in response to MDD's RFA DA 96-003, "Novel Pharmacotherapies for Treatment of Cocaine and Other Psychostimulant Dependence". The emphasis is on non-dopaminergic approaches to pharmacotherapy. Proposals will be reviewed in July/August for funding in September.

On March 14, 1996, MDD issued RFA 96-002 "Strategic Program for Innovative Research on Cocaine Addiction Pharmacotherapy (SPIRCAP)," a U-19 Cooperative Agreement mechanism. This mechanism is being utilized to encourage expedited transition of ground-breaking research from advanced preclinical findings to applied clinical mode, specifically to (1) interface between innovative, advanced preclinical research of sound scientific rationale and clinical proof-of-concept of an identified cocaine addiction therapeutic strategy; and (2) implement pilot clinical studies in volunteers or cocaine addicts to validate the therapeutic modality. This mechanism requires applicants to foster multi-party collaborations among universities, research institutes and the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry. Letters of intent are due 5/13/96 with a submission deadline of 6/13/96.

Health Services Research Database Catalogue

The Services Research Branch, DCSR, through NIDA's Health Services Research Resource Center, is undertaking the development of a data base catalogue that critically assesses the major features and usefulness of existing governmental and non-governmental data bases available for drug abuse health services research.

University of Miami -- Health Services Research Center

The University of Miami's Health Services Research Center, directed by Dr. Clyde McCoy and funded under a NIDA grant, was officially dedicated April 3, 1996.

NIDA/VA Medications Development Research Units (MDRU) Meeting

On February 26-27, 1996, the first quarterly meeting of the principal investigators and select senior staff from the NIDA/VA MDRU network was held. This was primarily an organizational and orientation meeting. MDD staff and incumbent investigators (Philadelphia and Los Angeles) presented background information and data on compounds for testing, summary of the outside consultants clinical cocaine program meeting in January 1996 and data from ongoing/completed research. A second meeting is scheduled for June. It is expected that each of the three new NIDA/VA MDRUs will have two studies of potential treatments for cocaine dependence/relapse underway by mid-summer. A cocaine clinical trials database is under development so that information from all NIDA sponsored clinical trials in this area can be accessed and such parameters as design, outcome, pharmacokinetics, etc., can be made available to scientists.

Evaluation of NIH AIDS Research

On March 14, 1996 the Office of AIDS Research at NIH issued the report of a year-long evaluation of the entire AIDS research portfolio of the NIH. The panel of scientists and community advocates that conducted the evaluation was established by the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council and was chaired by Dr. Arnold Levine of Princeton University. Scientific area subpanels were established in the areas of Etiology and Pathogenesis; Drug Discovery; Clinical Trials; Vaccine Research and Development; Behavioral and Social Sciences and Prevention Research; and Natural History, Epidemiology, and Prevention Research. The subpanels identified the scientific priorities within each area, evaluated the current research portfolio, and developed recommendations to improve, enhance, and streamline AIDS research. The subpanel reports were subsequently summarized in the March 14 report in 14 overarching recommendations. Individual subpanel reports will also become available sometime late this spring.

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