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ASH Supports Promising Biomedical Research of Five Investigators through ASH Bridge Grant Program

(WASHINGTON, September 27, 2017) — Today, ASH announced the names of five investigators whose research has been awarded $150,000 through the ASH Bridge Grant Program. Designed to sustain promising hematologic research proposals that score well but cannot be funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) due to uncertain funding, these ASH Bridge Grants will ensure that potentially life-saving research continues at five institutions across the United States.

The NIH is the world’s top provider of medical research grants. Though the agency has received welcome funding increases in 2016 and 2017 federal spending packages, NIH continues to struggle after over a decade of flat funding and spending reductions that have drastically reduced its ability to fund innovative research. Federal spending caps and massive cuts to the agency proposed by President Trump in May add to the uncertainty for scientific progress.

“With strict budget caps still in place, the ASH Bridge Grants are more important than ever,” said ASH President Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “This program allows scientific momentum to continue while encouraging the retention of promising hematology researchers, which is especially critical in this era of unpredictable NIH funding.”

These grants are designed to serve as a one-year bridge for researchers facing gaps in multi-year funding, allowing their focus to remain on continuing their research and further strengthening their NIH grant application in anticipation of future funding.

The ASH Bridge Grant program has been tremendously successful since its 2013 launch. Over 65 percent of recipients have gone on to receive an NIH research project grant (R01) or a large private grant. Additionally, over 70 percent of ASH Bridge Grant recipients surveyed report successfully publishing their findings.

“With scientific understanding advancing so rapidly, these awards help us ensure that brilliant researchers continue to contribute to our collective knowledge of blood diseases. By protecting research today, we are investing in tomorrow’s treatments and cures,” Dr. Anderson said.

The latest round of projects to be supported by the ASH Bridge Grant program encompasses a host of basic, translational, and clinical hematology research. Projects funded include improving therapy for leukemia, using molecular targeting to treat iron deficiencies, and enhancing the understanding of specific genomic instabilities. Since April 2013, ASH has awarded $11.2 million in Bridge Grant support to 92 investigators across 57 institutions.

The American Society of Hematology (www.hematology.org) is the world’s largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For more than 50 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. ASH publishes Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online. In 2016, ASH launched Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org), an online, peer-reviewed open-access journal.

Stephen Fitzmaurice American Society of Hematology
[email protected]; 202-552-4927