The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have awarded $6,865,689 to the National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) to continue funding the recovery and distribution of human organs and tissues for medical research.
The five-year award funds the Research Resource for Human Tissues and Organs (RRHTO) Cooperative Agreement. Established in 1987, the RRHTO provides biomedical investigators with donated normal and diseased human tissues and organs recovered from a diverse donor pool using customized procurement, processing, preservation and distribution protocols. A core grant from the NIH Office of the Director, Office of Research Infrastructure Programs is supplemented with additional funding from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Eye Institute (NEI), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
"Medical researchers encounter a broad range of challenges and obstacles. Because of NIH's continued support for NDRI's work, accessing high quality human biospecimens is not among the obstacles," said Meenhard Herlyn, D.V.M., D.Sc., professor at Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, and Chairman of the NDRI Board of Directors.
A unique element of NDRI's work supported through this agreement is the provision and distribution of human tissue for rare disease research. The Office of Rare Diseases Research within NCATS provides funds for outreach to rare disease patients and advocates, and to their medical and research communities, for the collection and distribution of rare disease biospecimens.
Funding from NIAID in particular is used to obtain tissues and organs from HIV-infected donors for the HIV/AIDS biomedical research community. NHLBI provides funds primarily for tissue collection, storage and distribution in support of research into the rare lung disease lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), as well as other heart, lung, and blood tissue research.
"Support from the NIH affirms the strong value of our mission and work and the importance of the use of human tissue, organs and cells in advancing medical research," said NDRI President and CEO Bill Leinweber. "With leadership from our staff, Dr. John Lonsdale, Principal Investigator of the human tissue resource program and Sally Strickler, Acting Director of the program, we look forward to continuing to serve the research community in the U.S. and around the world. We are grateful to the NIH for their continued support."