Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blogging live from the RAC -- Sections 5.4, 5.5. 5.6

To follow along, the draft plan is at:    http://www.scribd.com/doc/79701467

The call-in number is toll-free 1-800-767-1750 and the access code is 82477# .

The full agenda provided to RAC members today is here:  https://docs.google.com/open?id=1Sas5UyjORc9Jb0mwCQxNfOfvPT1ofYQOtA5l2OytHsHm-Ve8SrgCTbTaLLZQ.


1:40 p.m. -- back from lunch break.  New discussion on 5.4 Genetics/Genomics/Systems Biology (beginning p. 33).

Dr. Grosser presented the recommendations of the subcommittee, with goals on pp. 34-37.  

Discussion about Million Veteran Program, and that the recommendation is written in such a way that it would be a way to validate

Ms. Binns.  ALS brainbank, CSP #501A, a brain repository originally billed as a Gulf War brain bank today has just one brain out of 61 in the brain bank is Gulf War; additionally, the brain bank is only for ALS, not GWI.  This is a   clear example of need to shift funding away from projects that do not address GWI.  Modify this section of the document to add one sentence noting that funding should come from other than the VA Gulf War research budget.  CSP #501B will fulfill the original intent of having a GWI brain bank.  

General consensus otherwise on this section as it is written.


1:55: 5.5 discussion on Biomarkers. (p.38-43)

General discussion on recommendations related to biomarker discovery, qualification, and application.

Discussion on goals of biomarkers.  Help determine pathology, refine diagnosis.  Would help for case definition, tightly focused research.

Needs prioritization matched with rationale, such as something prominent in GWI, otherwise a 10-year research goal.  Currently this section appears like a wish list.

Discussion that this section is duplicative of other areas of the document.

2:20  5.6 Discussion on Animal Models.  (p.44-45).

Discussion on necessity of bulleted list on p. 45.  Goal was trying to engage a researcher who might know something about this area, because we already know this is a good area to look related to GWI.  Can remove ALS example and exchange it for language from 2008 RAC report.   Gets back to issue of philosophical belief in investigator-initiated research.  Need a plan to do this, and if RFA process doesn't work, other ways to stimulate this kind of research.

Need for a new introduction to this section on demonstrated utility of animal models.  What's been accomplished, how, and why, and recommended next stages.  Would be more compelling.  This report could be received with more enthusiasm if it would provide a few sentences, table, etc. in each section, to do this.  Need to include the data, not just the conclusions.  Would encourage potential researchers to step up to the plate and join in the research effort.  Would also help GWV's better understand what's happened to date and what's being proposed for new directions in GWI research.

!Suggestion from Dr. Korn:  short bulleted list of research gains since beginning of GWI research should be created, add to this document.


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