Cancer Moonshot Funding Opportunities Released

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has released the first batch of Cancer Moonshot funding opportunity announcements. These funding opportunities reflect the 10 recommendations by the Blue Ribbon Panel for areas for research acceleration. This first group of funding opportunities focus on immunotherapy, treatment resistance, data ecosystem development, childhood cancers, human tumor atlas development, and new cancer technologies. The NCI expects to release new funding opportunities in the future. AADR will update the blog as new funding opportunities become available.

IADR/AADR Join Over 150 Organizations Urging the Administration to Rescind the Executive Order

The International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) signed onto a letter spearheaded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and supported by over 150 organizations urging the Administration to rescind the Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The letter states, “The Executive Order will discourage many of the best and brightest international students, scholars, engineers and scientists from studying and working, attending academic and scientific conferences or seeking to build new businesses in the United States. Implementation of this policy will compromise the United States’ ability to attract international scientific talent and maintain scientific and economic leadership.”

IADR and AADR will also continue to strongly advocate for Congress to rescind the executive order in the near future and we will also be monitoring the developments at the US Supreme Court.

International and American Associations for Dental Research Joint Statement on Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”

The International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) strongly oppose the executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” and specifically the provision that suspends entry into the United States for immigrants and nonimmigrants from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya for 90 days.

Although we do not know the full impact of this policy yet, the executive order could have a chilling effect on the global scientific community and will impair IADR and AADR’s ability to achieve its mission of advancing research and increasing knowledge for the improvement of oral health worldwide. Science is, and must be, an international collaborative endeavor. Suspending entry into the United States prevents faculty and students with visas from these countries to study, teach, research, or attend international scientific conferences and this is a disservice to the advancement of science. The executive order will also prevent faculty and students from these countries currently in the United States on valid visas from traveling to international scientific conferences outside of the United States for fear of not being able to return.

IADR has members and student members based in the countries included in the executive order and members and student members with passports from those countries with faculty appointments or who are students in other countries. The direct and immediate impact on these members (even if they already obtained visas and went through a rigorous visa interview process) is they will be unable to attend the IADR General Session in San Francisco, California scheduled for March 2017. The IADR General Session is the largest scientific conference in the world for dental, oral and craniofacial researchers to share, connect and learn more about the latest dental and craniofacial research findings.

We strongly urge Congress to rescind the executive order immediately through the legislative process. We look forward to working with policymakers in the near future so they can better understand the detrimental impact policies such as this have on the exchange of information and the scientific enterprise at large.

As we strive towards our mission, IADR and AADR are committed to our diverse membership and will always be an inclusive community of dental, oral and craniofacial researchers for membership, meetings and our publications.

FDA releases final draft of cigar warning labels guidance

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the final version of “Submission of Warning Plans for Cigars: Guidance for Industry”. AADR commented on an earlier draft of the guidance. AADR urged FDA officials to modify the definition of “cigar”, to include a warning about tobacco use and tooth loss and gum disease, and to  explore the use of graphic warning labels. Although AADR’s recommendations were not incorporated into the final draft, we are hopeful that the warning plan outlined in this guidance will serve to promote public oral health and reduce cigar use. We will update the blog on any changes or developments to the guidance and with additional opportunities to provide input on this and other regulatory matters.

Please click here for the final version of the FDA’s guidance.

Student Advocate of the Year Winner Announced

AADR is pleased to announce that Adam Parikh, a student at Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine-Illinois is the recipient of the 2017 AADR Student Advocate of the Year Award. In a letter of congratulations, Dr. David Johnsen, Chair of the AADR Government Affairs Committee indicated his appreciation for Adam’s tireless advocacy on behalf of dental, oral, and craniofacial research especially in during this challenging budget climate. During the summer Adam participated in the AADR August Advocacy Challenge with the hopes of promoting the AADR’s federal policy agenda. He, along with another student, conducted a successful meeting with Senator Durbin’s (D-Ill.) staff to discuss the value and importance of increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Elizabeth Guirado, Tran Nguyen, aide for Sen. Durbin (D-IL) and Adam Parikh

As a recipient of this award, Adam will receive travel and a one night accommodation to attend the February 28, 2017 AADR and FNIDCR Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.

Dr. Francis Collins Staying on as NIH Director–For Now & Other Updates

According to multiple news outlets including STATNews Dr. Francis Collins’s letter of resignation was returned and he is being held over as NIH director. According to STATNews, “It is not yet known whether (President) Trump will permanently reappoint Collins to be his NIH director for his full term.”

In other updates, Dr. Tom Frieden stepped down as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director last week and deputy director Dr. Anne Schuchat will serve as acting director. It is not yet clear who President Trump will nominate to become the director of CDC.

AADR will be monitoring these developments closely and update the blog accordingly.


AADR Supports the Prevention and Public Health Fund

Last week, AADR voiced strong support for the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) by joining 333 organization in a letter warning Congress of the dire consequences of repealing PPHF. Currently, more than 12 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) budget is supplied through the Prevention Fund investments.  This includes funding for the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant which provides nearly $4 million for state oral health programs. In Wisconsin, for example, 7 agencies implemented evidenced based interventions including oral health risk assessments, fluoride sealants, dental hygienist services for exams, dental cleanings and fluoride varnishes and targeting children with no dental insurance or dental providers. Additionally, the Prevention Fund is also utilized for tobacco prevention programs including the successful Tips From Former Smokers educational campaign. With the return of sequestration next year and without a corresponding increase in the allocation for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriation bill repeal of PPHF would leave an enormous funding gap, creating catastrophic consequences for research, data, public health and other programs designed to improve the health of our nation. AADR looks forward to working with Congress in the upcoming months to protect and promote the Prevention and Public Health Fund because it continues to be a vital investment for many initiatives at CDC.

AADR submits comments on AHRQ key questions for chronic pain treatment

AADR submitted comments to the Effective Health Care (EHC) program of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) regarding key questions for the research topic, “Noninvasive, Nonpharmacological Treatment of Chronic Pain”. The research topic, which will explore alternative treatments to chronic pain conditions, appears to be in response to the opioid epidemic. Key questions are used to guide and focus researchers as they draft reports. The five current key questions address the following chronic pain conditions: low back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and headache.

AADR submitted comments encouraging researchers to include chronic orofacial pain as a key question. Please see the links below for AHRQ’s request for comments and AADR’s response. AADR will monitor and update the blog with any changes to the key questions.

Click here to view AADR’s response.

Congress Approves Short-Term Funding Bill Averting Govt. Shutdown

With minutes to spare, Congress approved a short-term continuing resolution (CR) averting a government shutdown. This legislation funds the federal government through April 28, 2017 at a 0.19% funding level lower than fiscal year 2016. The CR initially sailed through the House of Representatives by a 326-96 vote; however the bill stalled in the Senate due to concerns regarding health benefits for retired coal mine workers. The Senate ultimately approved the bill by a 63-36 vote.

The CR also contains some funding increases for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which was made possible by the 21st Century Cures Act. The additional funding listed below will be transferred to the Director of NIH for the following initiatives:

  • $40 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative;
  • $10 million for the BRAIN Initiative;
  • $300 million for cancer research; and
  • $2 million for clinical research to further the field of regenerative medicine (with the requirement of a $1 non-Federal match for every $1 of Federal funds).

What is next? January 3, 2017 marks the beginning of the 115th Congress where they will have to finish work on fiscal year 2017 and start to draft legislation to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2018 at the same time.

AADR will work to encourage Congress to provide the highest allocations possible for NIH in FY17 and FY18.

Surgeon General report warns of dangers of e-cig use among youth

This morning, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released a 298-page report on the use of e-cigarettes among young adults. Among the major findings of the report are:

  • e-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth
  • youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to use traditional tobacco products such as combustible cigarettes
  • nicotine in these products is addictive and may affect the developing brains of young people and increase their likelihood of becoming addicted to other drugs
  • chemicals in e-cigarette liquids may be harmful
  • and marketing and product development of e-cigarettes target young people.

The report advocates for policies aimed at restricting youth access to e-cigarettes, educational campaigns directed at young people, and inclusion of e-cigarettes in smoke-free policies.

This report is especially timely after the deeming rule issued earlier this year by the Food and Drug Administration giving itself authority to regulate electronic tobacco products along with more traditional tobacco products. This rule has been challenged by e-cigarette advocates.

The release of the report was accompanied by a new website where users can find facts about e-cigarettes as well as resources to educate and discourage use among young people.