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NewsScan for July, 2003

Special Issue of NewsScan Focuses on NIDA Funding News

NIDA To Fund Medication Development Units
NIDA is soliciting applications (RFA number DA-04-003) for funding research centers called Medication Development Units (MDUs). The goal of research directed through these MDUs is to identify, evaluate, and develop safe and effective medications to treat disorders related to the use of cocaine, methamphetamine, club drugs, opiates, and cannabis.

Treatment of drug-related disorders necessitates a multidisciplinary approach that may include a behavioral therapy component. Therefore, applicants also may propose the concurrent evaluation of pharmacotherapy and behavioral treatment components in an integrated design.

NIDA also invites applications addressing the development of treatments for special populations, such as polydrug abusers, individuals with comorbid substance abuse and psychiatric disorders, pregnant addicts, and adolescents.

MDUs will involve research that cuts across disciplinary lines to focus on such areas as:
  • Developing and testing new chemical entities for treatment of substance-related disorders;
  • Multicenter clinical trials to test medications for specific clinical conditions for which it is difficult to recruit subjects in a timely manner (i.e., substance abuse disorders in pregnant women);
  • Development of new human laboratory models for evaluating medications for relapse prevention, initiation, and abstinence;
  • Pioneering methods to design and conduct clinical trials that will be more cost-efficient while yielding reliable results;
  • Investigating innovative imaging technologies to assess subjects’ suitability for specific treatments, as well as treatment progress and outcome.

NIDA intends to commit approximately $5.5 million in total costs in FY 2004 to fund between five and seven new and/or competitive continuation grants. The RFA was issued on May 23, 2003. Letters of intent are due September 15, 2003, and applications must be received by October 14, 2003.

To view additional information about this request for application (RFA) go to

NIDA Seeks New Funding Solicitations for Proteomics Research
Since scientists now have sequenced the human genome, the next step is to assemble a complete list of all the distinct proteins in the human body. Thus, NIDA has issued a Request for Application (RFA) toward the support of Neuroproteomics Research Centers (RFA DA-04-004). These centers should be built around scientific themes that address questions relevant to NIDA’s mission. The centers will support already existing neuroscience research, provide training in proteomics technologies, and develop new proteomics technologies.

The objective of this program is to provide technical and administrative support for proteomics centers to develop new or improve existing proteomics technologies that would be applied to the analysis of tissues of the central nervous system, and promote sharing of information with the scientific community. While centers should be based at institutions that have extensive, ongoing, neurobiology research, personnel affiliated with them will not be restricted to investigators at those institutions.

Every center should be thematically integrated. Each project should benefit from the center’s other components, which may include, but are not limited to:

  • The study of long-term changes in the central nervous system (CNS) associated with substance abuse to identify proteins that may be involved in the molecular mechanisms of relapse;
  • The use of proteomics to identify common cellular mechanisms triggered by different substances of abuse;
  • Studies directed toward understanding signal transduction in cells of the CNS and how the cascades differ with exposure to drugs of abuse;
  • Studies designed to identify possible therapeutic target proteins for the treatment of drug abuse;
  • Investigations of changes in the CNS associated with HIV/AIDS and/or HCV infection and the effects of drugs of abuse on disease pathology, progression, and treatment;
  • Use of methods to improve analysis of low copy number proteins;
  • Methods that allow functional analysis of a proteome;
  • Development of turn-key technology such as protein chips for neuroproteomics.

NIDA intends to commit approximately $2.5 million in FY 2004 to fund between one and three new and/or competitive continuation grants. The RFA was issued April 28, 2003. Letters of intent are due September 24, 2003, and the application receipt date is October 24, 2003.

To view additional information about this request for application (RFA) go to

Program Announcements

Behavioral Therapies Development Program (PA-03-126)
Behavioral therapies are integral components of many drug abuse and addiction treatment programs. They can enhance adherence to medications and may be central to therapy for people unable to take medication. Recognizing the importance of such treatments, NIDA and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism support research in this area through the Behavioral Therapies Development Program (BTDP).

The BTDP incorporates three stages of treatment research:

  • Stage I involves identifying promising clinical, behavioral, affective, and cognitive research; generating and formulating new behavioral treatments or modifying existing treatments; operationally defining and standardizing principles and techniques of the therapies in manuals; and pilot testing and refining the therapies.
  • Stage II research consists of efficacy testing of promising therapies identified in Stage I.
  • Stage III research is aimed at understanding if and how an effective therapy may be used in community settings.
    Specific areas of interest include but are not limited to:
  • Therapies for smoking cessation;
  • Therapies to treat patients with comorbid drug abuse and/or alcohol abuse disorders;
  • Therapeutic interventions that can enhance existing behavioral therapy; and
  • Behavioral interventions that increase compliance with medication.

To view additional information about this program announcement (PA) go to

Women, Gender Differences, and Drug Abuse (PA-03-139)
As in other areas of biomedical research, the majority of investigations into the processes underlying drug abuse and addiction have used men as subjects. This program announcement encourages drug abuse research that explores the mechanisms, origins, and consequences of these practices in women. It also seeks to support investigations that focus on gender-based prevention and treatment interventions and services.

Laboratory research has shown that males and females often display different biological responses to drugs. Scientists have reported numerous male-female differences related to nicotine and nicotine dependence. About 41 percent of all women diagnosed with AIDS are injecting drug users, while only 22 percent of men with AIDS inject drugs.

Areas of research interest to be supported by these grants include but are not limited to:

  • Gender differences in the basic behavioral, biological, and genetic mechanisms underlying drug abuse and dependence;
  • Gender differences in the preclinical, clinical, and epidemiological studies that determine initiation, progression, and maintenance of drug use and dependence;
  • Gender differences in the role of psychiatric disorders in the development and maintenance of drug abuse;
  • Gender-specific medical consequences associated with drug abuse;
  • Gender differences in the effects of drugs on attaining appropriate physiological and psychological ageappropriate development levels;
  • Prevention studies on the role of effective gender-specific communication in media and interpersonal intervention;
  • Development and testing of alternative or complementary therapies for drug abusers and comparing their effectiveness in men and women.

Cutting-Edge Basic Research Awards (PAR-03-017)
NIDA invites applications for Cutting-Edge Basic Research Awards (CEBRA) to foster innovative or conceptually creative research that advances the understanding of drug abuse and addiction, prevention, and treatment.

CEBRA is specially designed to support high-risk and potentially high-impact research that is underrepresented or not included in the Institute’s current research portfolio. It targets experienced drug abuse researchers who wish to develop or adapt new methods or techniques and new investigators or scientists with expertise in other fields who wish to establish pioneering programs in drug abuse research.

The goal of this program is to accelerate the pace of discoveries that can advance addiction research by encouraging sound, yet ground-breaking, science. Recipients will be eligible to apply for a Stage II R01 award.

To view more information about this program announcement (PA) go to

To apply for any of these RFAs or PAs, use the PHS 398 research grant application and forms available at

Colorado Blending Conference Scheduled
The Blending Conference - Blending Clinical Practice and Research: Forging Partnerships in the Rocky Mountain States to Enhance Drug Addiction Treatment - will take place September 8–9 at the Westin Westminster in Westminster, Colorado.

The 2-day conference will bring together clinicians and researchers to examine cutting-edge scientific findings about drug use and addiction and their application to clinical practice. It is designed to bridge the gap that exists between clinical practice and scientific research.

Highlights include a keynote address by Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Director of NIDA, and sessions on Addressing HIV/Hepatitis C, Medication Strategies for Addiction, Integrating Treatment of Psychiatric Comorbidity, and Craving, Decision-Making, and Addiction: New Knowledge About the Brain.

The meeting is sponsored by NIDA and the Rocky Mountain Clinical Trials Network (CTN) Node, together with the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center; Colorado Department of Health Services, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division; and the Signal Behavioral Health Network, Inc.

More details about the conference can be found on NIDA’s Web site at

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and further information on NIDA research can be found on the NIDA web site at

For more information about any item in this NewsScan:

  • Reporters, call Stephanie Older at 301-443-6245.
  • Congressional staffers, call Geoffrey Laredo at 301-594-6852.
  • All studies described can be obtained through PubMed.

To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s new DrugPubs Research Dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH (1-877-643-2644) or 240-645-0228 (TDD), or fax or e-mail requests to 240-645-0227 or Online ordering is available at NIDA’s new media guide can be found at

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