Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Merck & Co., Inc. 

ACNP

  February 2003 - American College of Neuropsychopharmacology- Volume 9 No. 1 

        2002 ACNP Honorific Awards   

Charles O'Brien, Chair,
Honorific Awards Committee

The 2002 Plenary Session was the occasion for the announcement of a full complement of ACNP awards. The Daniel H. Efron Research Award is presented to an individual who has made outstanding basic research contributions to Neuropsychopharmacology. This year's winner was Bita Moghaddam of Yale University, the first female winner of this prestigious award. Bita's work on subcortical circuitry has had a major impact on our understanding of schizophrenia and addictive disorders. The Joel Elkes International Award for outstanding clinical contributions to psychopharmacology was shared by Daniel Javitt of the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research and New York University and Neal Swerdlow of the UCSD School of Medicine. Both of these young investigators made significant contributions at the translational level of laboratory to clinical research.

The Paul Hoch Distinguished Service Award was given this year to Eva Killam, one of the founding members of ACNP, and a former president. Eva was the first woman president of our organization and she has made numerous contributions to the College over the past 41 years as a member of Council, committee chair and scientific presenter.

This year a new award was instituted by Council at the suggestion of Myrna Weissman. The ACNP Media Award recognizes a journalist who has made important contributions to neuropsychopharmacology by explaining research to the general public. The first winner of this award was Ellen Levine the Editor-in-Chief of Good Housekeeping. Ellen is the first woman to hold this prestigious editorship and her resumé is replete with other important accomplishments. Most relevant to this award is a series of articles dealing with depression in women that appeared in Good Housekeeping. The Media Award will be given annually and all members of the College should consider nominating a journalist for 2003.

For more information visit

  http://www.acnp.org

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        ACNP Announces Support for Public Outreach Initiatives    

The Education and Training Committee developed and presented to Council a new program designed to encourage members of the ACNP to initiate outreach programs that inform the public about the contributions of research in understanding the biological mechanisms of mental disorders. By increasing awareness of the benefits and promise of brain research, these educational initiatives will boost public support for research funding and reduce the stigma of mental illness.

Through this program discretionary funds up to $3000 per year may be provided to applicants seeking support for public outreach initiatives in neuropsychopharmacology. The College will fund up to ten such awards per year.

Applicants must be current full ACNP members who are personally involved in the production or presentation of a public education program. The application should provide a description of the planned program, including the targeted audience and potential speakers and a proposed budget. Applicants must agree to publicly acknowledge sponsorship by the ACNP and provide copies of materials developed with grant funds to an ACNP repository. Funds may be used to cover advertisement, design and printing of handouts, speaker travel, lodging, honoraria, and refreshments. Applicants are strongly encouraged to make an effort to attract public media attention. In addition, web access to the program should be provided via links from the ACNP website to include, at a minimum, a text description of the program but also possibly other viewable materials (e.g. downloadable PowerPoint Panels, video etc) as permitted by available funds.

The Education and Training Committee, or an appointed subcommittee of the Education and Training Committee, will review proposals and recommend funding of those programs deemed of greatest merit and impact. The application deadline will be October 1, 2003. Considerations will include the track record of the sponsoring unit in providing public outreach initiatives, likely impact of the planned event, and the involvement of public advocacy groups and underrepresented minority groups.

A report of the use of the funds must be provided back to the ACNP within two months of completion of the program. The report should detail the nature of the program, the number of participants and attendees and should provide samples of distributed materials generated specifically for the program.

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        Call for Proposals for 2003 Annual Meeting  

Dr. Ronald S. Duman
Chair of the Program Committee

Dr. Dennis Charney
President

The latest ACNP meeting in San Juan was another striking success based on the array of outstanding basic and clinical research presentations and the positive feedback from members and nonmembers attending the meeting. In particular the continued growth and interest in basic research has resulted in presentation of cutting edge work by renowned scientists from around the world on the neurobiological basis of behavior, including models of major psychiatric illnesses, and the actions of psychotropic drugs. The combination of these outstanding basic research presentations intermixed with state of the art clinical research continues to be a unique and attractive feature of the ACNP meeting that draws intense interest from basic and clinical research scientists from different backgrounds and fields. It is this stimulating mixture of basic and clinical research presentations that the organizing committee for 2003 will continue to seek.

With the growth of basic research in the meeting over the past several years some members have requested a renewed emphasis on clinical presentations. There is no question that the clinical research presentations are essential to the scientific goals of the College, and we would like to urge the submission of panels addressing novel areas of clinical research from diagnosis, to treatment and prevention. In particular, a central theme for this years meeting will be therapeutic drug discovery, and proposals from the perspective of basic and clinical discovery avenues are encouraged. The committee strives to accept the highest quality panel presentations that are of the greatest interest to the scientific community, with the essential mixture of basic and clinical work.

The Call for Proposals will be sent to members in just a few weeks. We would like to urge all members to prepare proposals that are well organized, stimulating, and exciting for the 2003 meeting in San Juan. This will ensure the continued high degree of success that we have become accustomed to and look forward to at the annual meeting.

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        Your Voice Is Needed Now    

Note: This guest column by Frankie L. Trull, President, Foundation for Biomedical Research is provided by invitation from the ACNP Committee on the Use of Animals in Neuropsychopharmacology.

As scientists, you are undoubtedly aware of the vital role that animal research plays in the ultimate ability of physicians to provide care and comfort for their patients. You may also be aware of the damage that is being done - and will continue to be done - to America's research enterprise by activists who oppose, and seek to end, all scientific inquiry requiring laboratory animals.

Whether these animal activists are targeting individual researchers with threats and intimidation; breaking into labs and setting fires; litigating to get legal standing for animals; or lobbying on Capitol Hill to get cost-prohibitive regulatory burdens imposed on the American research community, we have one - and only one - weapon at our disposal to neutralize and ultimately eliminate their threat. And that is the truth.

As the most trusted source of medical information, physicians have a tremendous opportunity to promote public understanding, respect and support for the humane and responsible use of animals in biomedical research.

Information about the essential need for animals in research can be incorporated into a typical physician-patient discussion about current and possible future therapies for diseases and disorders for which they are seeking help.

Among facts that can increase and strengthen public support for animal research are:

  • Research is the foundation for all medical science, and animals are the foundation of this research.
  • Well over 95% of all lab animals are rodents - mice and rats bred specifically for this purpose. With more than 90 percent similarity to the human genome, rodents are particularly important models of human disease. Animals and humans also share striking physiological similarities.
  • As yet, there is no complete alternative to animal research. While medical and scientific advances are frequently supplemented by knowledge obtained through non-animal methods, these alternatives serve only as adjuncts to basic animal research.
  • Federal government regulations governing the care and use of animals in medical research are more extensive than those covering human research subjects. All research institutions are required by law to ensure that lab animals get the best care and treatment possible.
  • For humane, compassionate and scientific reasons, researchers are deeply concerned about the condition of the animals they study. This is not a controversial position - there is no constituency for inhumane or irresponsible treatment.
  • America's scientific community places a high priority on the "Three Rs" - reduction, replacement and refinement. We are committed to reduce the number of animals used, replace animals with other models wherever possible and refine procedures to ensure the least distress possible.


You may also wish to consider placing educational pamphlets that discuss the essential need for animals in research in your waiting room. They can be obtained, free of charge, from the Foundation for Biomedical Research. This simple gesture will help to counteract the impact of the contemporary animal rights movement, which is media savvy, politically sophisticated, well-organized and extremely well funded.

The emerging political sophistication of the animal rights movement was in clear evidence in recent election campaigns where unprecedented campaign contributions were raised and donated by activist organizations. Although it is expected that Congress will continue to be generally supportive of humane animal research, the new, 108th Congress may begin to respond to the long-term political strategies of the activists who have so heavily 'invested' in them.

Interestingly, the debate over animal research is nonpartisan. For example, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), is expected to reintroduce his bill to eliminate so-called "puppy mills." On the surface, the bill appears benign and unrelated to research, but the language has negative implications for breeding some of the dogs needed for research. In the House, on the opposite side of the aisle, Congressman George Miller (D-CA) has emerged as a spokesman for the animal activist community and a critic of animal research.

Experience shows that Congress generally reflects public values and opinion. So, as the concept of legal rights for animals has gained acceptance with the general public, so has Congress begun to respond. It is essential for the research community to enlighten its Congressional members and their staff, about the vital role of laboratory animal research in the provision of quality medical care. The medical community should also be prepared to match the efforts of the animal rights movements in providing support for the candidates of choice. We can no longer afford to assume that animal research will continue to be preserved and protected as a viable component of biomedical research.

It isn't always easy for Americans to reconcile their natural love and appreciation for animals with the essential need for animal research. But by dedicating yourself to informing your patients that lab animals are treated responsibly, ethically and as humanely as possible in order to find new preventions, therapies and cures for the diseases they live with, it will strengthen their understanding and respect for animal research and safeguard the future of the research community from those who would destroy it.

For more information about promoting the essential need for animal research, please visit: www.fbresearch.org

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        Washington Update from Policy Directions  

NIH Funding

A $3.7 billion increase to complete the five-year plan to double funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was included in the Senate version of the omnibus appropriations bill. H.J. Res 2, which will incorporate funding for the 11 remaining FY2003 appropriations bills, includes a total of $27.167 billion to fund biomedical research at the NIH. Congressman Ralph Regula (R-OH) who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS & Education, previously introduced a House version of the bill in order to preserve some negotiating power in the omnibus bill. Chairman Regula's bill would appropriate $26.481 billion for NIH, a $3.107 billion (13%) increase over the FY2002 level.

House and Senate conferees hope to resolve differences and have a bill ready for floor debate before the President's Day recess next week. The Senate version also includes a provision for a 2.9 percent across-the-board cut. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee has agreed with House conferees to limit the cut to 1 percent or less. It is reported that Senator Stevens remains committed to insulating NIH from that cut.

Researchers and advocates have long been concerned that complacency might set in once the doubling effort was successfully completed. The Bush administration has consistently warned, "Once the doubling effort is complete, NIH will receive stable, moderate funding increases." The President's FY2004 budget provides $27.9 billion for NIH. This is a net increase of $549 million, or 2.0 percent, over the President's FY 2003 budget.

As ACNP reported on the NIH Reorganization, the administration and several members of Congress have concerns regarding NIH's ability to handle the large infusion of funds created with the doubling. The National Academies Institute of Medicine (IoM) committee was charged, by Congress, to use some of the NIH funds to conduct a study of the current structure of NIH and to make recommendations to Congress. The committee's final report is expected in September.

Anti-Cloning Legislation:

Representatives Dave Weldon (R-FL) and Bart Stupak (D-MI) have introduced legislation that would prohibit cloning for any purpose, including therapeutic cloning. There are 88 co-sponsors to the Weldon-Stupak bill (H.R. 234). The language is identical to the bill that passed the House last year, with one exception. This bill no longer contains a provision to outlaw importation of therapeutic cloning technology products, although it would still be illegal to import an entire cloned embryo.

Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), who was unsuccessful in passing companion anti-cloning legislation in the Senate last year, again introduced an anti-cloning bill on Wednesday, January 29, to coincide with a hearing before Senator Brownback's Commerce Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space. Therapeutic cloning proponent Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative Weldon provided testimony. Leon R. Kass, chair of the President's Council on Bioethics testified on the Council's recommendation for a four-year moratorium on therapeutic cloning. There are 22 co-sponsors to the Brownback bill (S. 245).

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) held a press conference Wednesday, February 5, to introduce his legislation to preserve therapeutic cloning research. Senator Hatch was joined by bill cosponsors, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) as well as stem cell proponent Dr. David Baltimore, who won a Nobel Prize for his work in recombinant DNA research. The "Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Research Protection Act of 2003" (S. 303) is also cosponsored by Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Zell Miller (D-GA).

The legislation has been drafted to address specific concerns about ethical research and exploiting women. Specifically, the purchase or sale of unfertilized eggs is prohibited and women who donate eggs are to be minimally compensated. The bill would prohibit any research on an egg cell after 14 days, when the cell begins to divide and "differentiation" begins. In addition, the bill would also prohibit the export of eggs, which have undergone nuclear transplantation, to any foreign country that does not ban human cloning.

Both stem cell advocates and opponents agree that human reproductive cloning should be banned.

Human Research Subjects

After the sudden and unexpected dissolution of the National Human Research Protections Advisory Committee (NHRPAC) last September, Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Tommy Thompson named members of a new advisory committee, the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP). The committee is charged with providing advice to HHS on matters relating to the responsible conduct of research involving human subjects. This includes research issues involving special populations including the decisionally impaired.

Patient advocacy groups have been critical that the group will not include a professional patient advocate. Also of concern for researchers is discussion of including embryos in research protection. This may have future repercussions on the progress of stem cell research.

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        New Officers and Council Members for 2003

Dennis S. Charney, M.D., Director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at NIMH took the reins as President of the ACNP during the annual business meeting in San Juan on December 11, 2002. Dr. Charney outlined his priorities for 2003, starting with forming a task force to study the issue of barriers that exist to drug discovery and drug development. He also plans to ask the ACNP Ethics Committee to look at conflicts of interest and other issues relating to the relationship of the College with the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Charney plans to continue the efforts of recent years to assure that the ACNP voice is heard in debates about issues such as stem cell research, using animals in research, and other important policy matters.

Carol A. Tamminga, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, assumed the role of President-Elect. Stepping into their new roles as members of Council were Kenneth L. Davis, M.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.

For more information visit

  http://www.acnp.org

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        Election of New Members and Promotions

The College elected thirty-six new members and fourteen new associate members during the 2002 Annual Meeting. There were also twenty members who were promoted to Fellow, two Fellows promoted to Life Fellow, and one member promoted to Life Member.

For more information visit

  http://www.acnp.org

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        2002 ACNP Travel Awardees

A total of 43 travel awardees attended the 2002 ACNP Annual Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This total included five Aventis Travel Awardees, five NIMH Minority Travel Awardees, twelve Bristol-Myers Squibb Travel Awardees, nine ACNP Memorial Travel Awardees, nine Travel Awardees from the APA Program for Minority Research Training in Psychiatry, one GlaxoSmithKline Fellow, one Pharmacia Minority Summer Fellow, and one Anxiety Disorders Association of America Travel Awardee. Since 1981 over 500 talented young investigators have attended an Annual Meeting as a travel awardee.

For more information visit

  http://www.acnp.org

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        Calendar of Events

 

June 1-4, 2003
26th Annual Meeting of the CCNP
Montreal, Quebec

For information:

Rachelle Anderson
Tel: 1 780 407 6597
Fax: 1 780 407 6672
E-mail: rmena@ualberta.ca

June 20-24, 2004
24th CINP Congress
Paris, France
For Information:

Avenue de L.Atlantique 1222
B-1150 Brussels
BELGIUM
Tel: 32 3 779 59 59
Fax: 32 2 779 59 60
Email: cinp2004@iceo.be
Website: www.cinp2004.com

 

 

 

July 11-13, 2003
ACNP Program Committee Meeting
Palm Beach, FL

For information:

ACNP Secretariat
2014 Broadway, Suite 320
Nashville, TN 37203
Tel: 615-322-2075
Fax: 615-343-0662

September 20-24, 2003
16th ECNP Congress
Prague-Czech Republic

For information:

Organizing secretariat:
Congrex Holland
PO Box 302
1000 AH Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: 31 20 50 40 200
Fax: 31 20 50 40 225


December 7-11, 2003
42nd ACNP Annual Meeting
San Juan, Puerto Rico

For information:

ACNP Secretariat
2014 Broadway, Suite 320
Nashville, TN 37203
Tel: 615-322-2075
Fax: 615-343-0662

December 12-14, 2003
3rd ICGP Annual Meeting
San Juan, Puerto Rico
For Information:

ICGP Executive Office
2014 Broadway, Suite 250
Nashville, TN 37203 USA
Tel: 1-615-322-4247
Fax: 1-615-322-4246
Email: icgp@icgp.org
Website: www.icgp.org

October 9-13, 2004
17th ECNP Congress, Stockholm Sweden

For information:

Organizing secretariat:
Congrex Holland
PO Box 302
1000 AH Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: 31 20 50 40 200
Fax: 31 20 50 40 225

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Table of Contents

 

 

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