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FYI Number 88: July 29, 2002

Senate Appropriations Report: Biomedical Imaging & Bioengineering Institute

On July 18, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its Labor-HHS-Education funding bill for FY 2003 (S. 2766). This bill provides funding for the National Institutes of Health, including the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). Senate appropriators would provide $283.1 million for this institute in FY 2003, an amount that includes both new money and some transferred funds. House appropriators have not drafted their bill yet.

The NIBIB was created in 2001 to centralize bioengineering and biomedical imaging research across NIH. It received $112 million in FY 2002, and $121.4 million was requested for FY 2003. The Senate appropriators expect approximately $150 million to be transferred to the NIBIB from other institutes in FY 2003, continuing the consolidation of imaging and bioengineering research within this new institute. This $150 million transfer is accounted for in the Senate bill’s FY 2003 total of $283.1 million. Excluding the transferred funds, the Senate bill would provide $21.1 million in new money for NIBIB in FY 2003, an increase of 18.8 percent over current funding.

Language from the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Committee Report (S. Rpt. 107-216) pertaining to NIBIB is quoted below:

"Mission- The NIBIB improves health by promoting fundamental discoveries, design and development, and translation and assessment of technological capabilities in biomedical imaging and bioengineering, enabled by relevant areas of information science, physics, chemistry, mathematics, materials science, and computer sciences. The Institute plans, conducts, fosters, and supports an integrated and coordinated program of research and research training that can be applied to a broad spectrum of biological processes, disorders and diseases and across organ systems. The Institute coordinates with the biomedical imaging and bioengineering programs of other agencies and NIH Institutes to support imaging and engineering research with potential medical applications and facilitates the transfer of such technologies to medical applications.

"The Committee recognizes the contribution bioengineering brings to medicine. Bioengineering improves the quality of life through its contribution to advances in science and technology related to health. The Committee understands that this newly created Institute must have adequate resources to begin its important task of supporting high-quality research.

"Juvenile diabetes- The Committee is aware that imaging and bioengineering technologies could have widespread applications for the treatment and prevention of diseases and conditions such as juvenile diabetes. The Committee encourages the NIBIB to collaborate with the NIDDK [National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases] on the development and application of imaging technologies to evaluate and track the progress of biologic events non-invasively, specifically the investigation and monitoring of beta cell destruction during the onset of juvenile diabetes and indications of graft rejection following the transplantation of whole organs, tissue, or cells. The Committee also encourages the Institute to collaborate with the NIDDK to develop non-invasive metabolic sensor technologies for the monitoring of glucose and metabolism in individuals with juvenile diabetes.

"Molecular imaging technologies- The Committee encourages the Institute to provide increased funding for molecular imaging technologies such as positron emission tomography (PET) and microPET to take advantage of the capacities of molecular imaging to detect disease process at the molecular level and to monitor the effectiveness of targeted gene therapies now under development. The Committee also encourages the Institute to develop its research agenda in close collaboration with other, disease-specific Institutes at NIH, so that new imaging technologies are closely tied to the research projects being supported by the NIH.

"Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)- The Committee is mindful of the dismal history of failures in the case of plastic and other materials used in implants to replace parts of the temporomandibular joint. The Committee urges the Institute to make studies of the TM joint and related structures a high priority. "

In May, Roderic Pettigrew was announced as the first NIBIB director. Pettigrew is currently Director of the Center for MR Research at the Emory University School of Medicine, and is expected to start his NIBIB appointment in August or September. Pettigrew has a PhD in applied radiation physics from MIT, and an MD from the University of Miami School of Medicine.

Audrey T. Leath
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3094

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