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NHLBI’s Strategic Vision Reflects ASH’s Research Priorities

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has released its strategic vision which highlights its goals and research priorities that will inform its policy and funding decisions for heart, lung, blood, and sleep diseases (HLBS) in the next several years. ASH participated in the NHLBI’s strategic visioning process and submitted additional comments when the NHLBI’s draft strategic priorities were released. The Society’s comments were developed based on its Agenda for Hematology Research and Priorities for Sickle Cell Disease and Sickle Cell Trait as well as additional input from the ASH Committee on Scientific Affairs, the Society’s 18 scientific committees and the Executive Committee. ASH is pleased to see that many of its recommendations (some in the form of compelling questions or critical challenges) have been included in the Institutes final list of research priorities:

  • How can we optimize the effectiveness and safety of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in the treatment of nonmalignant blood and immune disorders and prevent both short-term and long-term complications?
  • Development of safe, well-functioning designer platelets and red blood cells from stem or progenitor cells, as well as the large-scale production of these products, is needed for therapeutic and diagnostic uses
  • Advancements are needed in the organization, infrastructure, integration, and availability of “omics” data, including genetic, epigenetic, transcriptomic, metabolomic, proteomic, phenotypic, and ontologic information
  • How can improved methods for hematopoietic cell transplantation or gene therapy approaches be used to cure certain hemoglobinopathies (e.g., sickle cell disease)?
  • What genetic, biomarker, and environmental predictors of risk and outcome would inform and improve management of sickle cell disease and secondary prevention of its progression and complications?
  • Improvements in clinical trial design, population estimations, project management, and other practices are needed to achieve timely trial completion

ASH thanks all members who contributed to this process and encourages everyone to take the time to read through the NHLBI’s strategic research priorities as they are designed to guide future Institute-solicited research, capitalize on the most promising research avenues, prepare the workforce of the future, and identify areas where new technologies can substantially aid the scientific process.