UTHSC Bentsen Stroke Center Investigator Program

Lan Bentsen, B.A. Bentsen and Sean Savitz

Lan Bentsen, B.A. Bentsen and Sean Savitz

I. Background

Acute ischemic stroke leading to infarction of brain tissue is the most significant vascular central nervous  system  (CNS)  disorder in industrial  nations  and  remains  the leading  cause  of  adult disability.  The Bentsen Stroke Center (BSC) was created to meet the critical need to develop therapeutic strategies for the treatment of stroke.  One focus of the BSC is to develop cell-based therapeutics, including the use of certain populations of stem cells, to reduce secondary brain injury and to enhance recovery after ischemic stroke.

The Bentsen Stroke Center (BSC) will be physically embedded  within the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine  (CSCRM) at the Institute  of  Molecular Medicine  (IMM). This arrangement will allow investigators working in the BSC to benefit both from the intellectual environment of the CSCRM and from the infrastructure associated with the Center.

II. Purpose and Criteria

Applications will be accepted from all full-time members of McGovern Medical School faculty at any level of seniority interested in advancing the study and therapeutic outcomes of regenerative medicine and stroke. Support from the BSC for individual faculty investigators can be up to approximately $200,000 per year for a two-year period. Bentsen  Investigators  will retain their primary  faculty appointment  in a McGovern Medical School Department  but be granted  adjunct  appointments  in the CSCRM, the formal academic and administrative  home of the Bentsen Center.   Funds may be used for direct costs such as faculty  salary,  technical  support  personnel,  stipends  for graduate  students  and  postdoctoral fellows, supplies, and equipment.

The research program of Bentsen Investigators should encompass one or more of the specific aims of the Center as outlined below:

  1. Determine which stem cells are the most appropriate for regenerative therapy.
  2. Determine the significance/relevance in patients  of blood-derived  stem cells, bone marrow derived stem cells, endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) and MSC
  3. Determine the mechanism(s) of action of specific stem cell types in recovery from stroke.
  4. Define appropriate endpoints, surrogate markers for success (especially imaging) in patients.
  5. Define optimal multimodal therapy for patients.
  6. Examine role of stem cell therapy for intracerebral hemorrhage.
  7. Examine the application of stem cell therapy to other types of brain injury.   Such disorders include,  but  are  not  limited  to,  traumatic  brain  injury,  spinal  cord  injury,  peripheral  nerve injury, neurodegenerative disease, and multiple sclerosis.

III. Submission Requirements

Each Application must include:
a) A letter (one page limit, 11 point font) from the investigator, which briefly summarizes the investigator’s plans and demonstrates how the project fits with the goals of the Center. The letter should also describe what other efforts are, have been or will be made to obtain funding for the project.
b) If a Competing Renewal of a previously funded BSC grant, provide a two-year progress report including the following:

  1. A summary of the original proposed specific aims and time table for completion (0.5 – 1 page);
  2. A summary of the experimental results obtained and conclusions drawn relative to each of the original specific aims (4-5 pages; if additional space is required for figures/photos etc., please include as an Appendix)
  3. A listing of submitted grants resulting from this funded project
  4. A listing of manuscripts or publications resulting from this funded project

c) Applicant’s NIH-Style Biographical Sketch (2 pages maximum) on NIH Form PHS398.
d) Other Support (no page limit) to include a description  of other support from all external and internal funding  sources  including,  but  not  limited  to,  grants,  contracts,  endowments,  gift accounts, departmental reserves, and departmental start-up funds and the amounts and dates covered by such support.

e)  Budget and Budget Justification (three page limit). The budget pages should be in NIH style and include the major categories of all expenses as well as a detailed budget justification and the percentage effort that key personnel will devote to the project. No indirect costs will be provided with an award.  For multi-year proposals, estimates for those years and appropriate justification of expenses should be provided.

f)  Scientific Plan (maximum of six pages including illustrations and legends) to  include:   (1)   Specific Aims (no more than one page), (2) Background and Significance (no more than two pages), (3) Experimental plan (no more than three pages), and (4) References (without page limit).  Appendix material of any kind will not be accepted.  Font size, line spacing and margins of the Scientific Plan should follow NIH Guidelines.

g)  A  letter  of support  from  the  investigator’s  chairperson,  which  includes  an  approval of the Principal Investigator’s percentage effort devoted to the project.

IV. Review Criteria

The Scientific Review Board of the Bentsen Stroke Center will evaluate the applications according to the following criteria:

a) Scientific Merit and Innovation
b) Project Consistency with Center’s goals
c) Collaborative Potential
d) Potential for leading to multiple grant applications (R01) in Years 2 or 3, and to a program, project or center grant in Years 3 or 4
e) Potential for leading to the initiation of Phase I/ IIA clinical trials in which newly developed cell therapies are tested in stroke patients

V. Deadline

Grant applications may be submitted by December 2, 2013 to msresearchcommittee@uth.tmc.edu and will be reviewed by the Scientific Review Board.

The major goal of the BSC is to build a team of researchers with common interests. To help achieve  this goal all recipients  of awards  will be expected  to attend  monthly  meetings  during which  time  investigators  report  on their  progress  and  on  matters  related  to  the  goals of  the Center. The BSC will also run a funded seminar program thematically related to the work in the Center.  All investigators and their scientific staff will be expected to attend.

The Scientific Review Board will require a yearly progress report and a final report at the end of the term of the award if it exceeds one year.  Continuation of funding for multi-year awards will be dependent on suitable progress. Awards will be made with the understanding that investigators will submit a R01 or its equivalent within two or three years after initial receipt of BSC funding.