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Fast-Forwarding Natural Products Research

January 24, 2014
Craig Hopp
D. Craig Hopp, Ph.D.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
View Dr. Hopp's biographical sketch

I have an exciting new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to tell you about: the “Center for Advancing Natural Products Innovation and Technology (U41),” or RFA-AT-14-006. This grant is part of a diverse portfolio of projects on natural products research cosponsored by NCCAM and the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). The goal of this FOA is to improve upon and strengthen the technologies and methods used in natural-products research—leading to better understanding of the biology and chemistry of natural products and how they impact health and wellness.

The centerpiece will be a new national Center for Advancing Natural Product Innovation and Technology (CANPIT).  It is being funded under the U41 grant mechanism, a cooperative agreement, which means its activities will be done in partnership between the awardee(s) and the sponsoring agencies.

Advancing research on natural products is a primary objective in NCCAM’s Strategic Plan. As part of these efforts, NCCAM and ODS assembled the NIH Botanical Research Expert Panel, made up of members from outside NIH, which met in April 2013 (view summary here). This new RFA comes directly from the panel's work, as does a second NCCAM-ODS opportunity, “Botanical Dietary Supplement Research Centers” (RFA-OD-14-001).

Natural products are widely marketed and used in the United States, and are represented in healing systems and pharmacopoeias throughout the world. However, rigorous scientific evidence on the efficacy and safety of natural products has mostly been lacking. A related problem is that, over the past two decades, investment in natural-products research by pharmaceutical companies, government, and academic institutions has fallen. This decline is often attributed to longtime challenges and obstacles with research methodologies, technologies, and approaches. The new CANPIT center will take on these hurdles, playing a unique and innovative role as a leader, collaborator, and coordinator among experts and expertise in the field.

If you are a researcher interested in studying natural products, I encourage you to:

  • Review RFA-AT-14-006 and related announcement RFA-OD-14-001 in the NIH Guide
  • Take advantage of the resources NCCAM and NIH have for applicants—including a teleconference on January 27, 2014, and a webinar in March 2014 (details TBA), both hosted by NCCAM
  • Start early; it is possible to produce an application quickly, but to produce one that is competitive takes much more time. The deadline for RFA-AT-14-006 is June 27, 2014.

We look forward to receiving many innovative proposals.


Comments are now closed for this post.

     I have dermatomyositis and very little research of any kind has been done on this condition. It would be very interesting to follow this study and it’s outcome.

At LONG LAST - something is happening to actually bring  Naturall Medicine  to the front of the queue. Here in the UK we are still locked in to a minor role due to strong  opposition  by the NHS  - yet they are of course willing to promote our knowledge as their ideas, and apply for research funding. What hipocrypts, and being too bound up with convention, most seem unable to shake off the brainwashing they received in their training. But we struggle on trying to bring them around to our ideas. At long last we have managed in the UK to bring the risk of excess processed sugar into the news. However it is not seriously linked to arthritis and cancer. Putting  excess sugars, including cereals `altered’ to produce more `sweetness ’ into the food chain, is why I  am sure that   at least 60% of the population is obese or diagnosed with  Class 2 and Class 1 diabetes. Then there is metaformin’s interference with the adrenal function - hence leading to blood pressure problems……………… The research is all there BUT IGNORED . WHY ?    It seems that the knowledge of sugar turning into alcohols within the body is not accepted either.WILL THEY EVER ASK THE REAL EXPERTS ???WHAT I want however is   funding for research into the effect of oestrogen type additives - used to fatten all types of meat  protein, that then enters the food chain and onwards into the water table via land run off  with sewage also being judged fit to being sent back for everyday use, at least 5 days prior to certainty.CAN THIS BE APPLIED FOR PLEASE ?Then isn’t it about time, with a predicted epidemic of alzeimer’s  disease - that the research in  the 60’s and 70’s was revisted as it was clear that if   the amount of aluminium wasn’t removed or reduced, then an epidemic would occur.  To remind readers, aluminium was/is used to make the water look clean and to mask the smell of chlorine. If the chemistry rules haven’t changed - to smell chlorine means it has been activated and is probably no longer acting efficiently. So it is a nasty way of reducing the purification costs  Here in the UK this reduction/removal was not fully implemented in the UK until 1990’s. Is there a `cure’? Based on my research and experience - nettle tea should be taken on a daily basis by everyone (and this includes the animals/fowls meat  meant for consumption) .  I await your reply reference the fundingBest wishesElizabeth Forbes Bryson, BSc[Hons]     

Dear Sir/madamI am I master degree student in open university of Tanzani.I am interested in herbal medicine and natural therapy.You programe is very useful to meSincerely yourAliZanzibarTanzania

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