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NIH Almanac - Historical Data

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Historical Data
Major NIH Lectures
Nobel Laureates
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Chronology of Events
1700 | 1800 | 1900 | 1910 | 1920 | 1930 | 1940 | 1950 | 1960 | 1970 | 1980 | 1990 | 2000
1798 The Marine Hospital Service was established with the July 16 signing by President John Adams of an act for the relief of sick and disabled seamen.
1799 An amending act of March 2 extended benefits of the Marine Hospital Service to officers and men of the U.S. Navy.
1802 The admission of foreign seamen to Marine hospitals on a reimbursable basis was authorized on May 3.
1803 The first permanent Marine hospital was authorized on May 3 to be built in Boston, Mass.
1807 Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse was appointed physician in charge of the Boston Marine Hospital on November 27. He was the first to introduce interns and residents into hospitals in the United States.
1836 The Library of the Office of the Surgeon General of the Army was established (the present National Library of Medicine).
1865 John Shaw Billings, M.D., was assigned to supervise the Surgeon General’s Library, which he built into a national resource of biomedical literature.
1870 A bill dated June 29 provided for administration of Marine hospitals within a Bureau of the Treasury Department with a medical officer in charge.
1871 Dr. John Maynard Woodworth was appointed supervising surgeon of the Marine Hospital Service in April, marking the beginning of central control of Marine hospitals.
1873 Regulations were approved on December 1 for appointment and promotion of physicians in the Marine Hospital Service, establishing the first career service for civilian employees in the Federal Government.

A bill passed on March 3 authorized admission of Navy seamen and seamen of other government services to Marine hospitals on a reimbursable basis.

In recognition of Dr. Woodworth’s progress in reorganizing the Marine Hospital Service, his title was changed by law to supervising Surgeon General on March 3.


The first Federal Quarantine Act was passed April 29.

On December 21, Congress appropriated funds “for investigating the origin and causes of epidemic diseases, especially yellow fever and cholera.”


The National Board of Health was created by law on March 3. It represented the first organized, comprehensive, national medical research effort of the Federal Government.

Dr. John B. Hamilton was appointed Surgeon General of the Marine Hospital Service, April 3.

1884 The seamen’s hospital tax was abolished on July 1. The cost of maintaining Marine hospitals was paid out of a tonnage tax, which continued until 1906.
1887 A bacteriological laboratory, known as the Laboratory of Hygiene, was established under Dr. Joseph J. Kinyoun at the Marine Hospital, Staten Island, N.Y., in August, for research on cholera and other infectious diseases (renamed Hygienic Laboratory in 1891.)
1889 The commissioned corps was authorized on January 4 establishing by law the policy of a mobile corps subject to duty anywhere upon assignment.
1890 Congress gave the Marine Hospital Service interstate quarantine authority on March 27.

The Hygienic Laboratory moved from Staten Island, N.Y., to the Butler Building, Service Headquarters, Washington, D.C., in June.

Dr. Walter Wyman was appointed Surgeon General of the Marine Hospital Service on June 1.

1893 A new Quarantine Act, passed February 15, strengthened the Quarantine Act of 1878 and repealed the act establishing the National Board of Health.

The Marine Hospital Service was directed by Congress on March 2 to investigate leprosy in the United States.

Dr. Milton J. Rosenau succeeded Dr. Kinyoun as director of the Hygienic Laboratory on May 1.


The earliest studies of Rocky Mountain spotted fever took place in Montana.

A bill approved July 1 changed the name of the Marine Hospital Service to the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service and established an advisory board for the Hygienic Laboratory. It later became the National Advisory Health Council.

The 57th Congress enacted Public Law 244 to regulate the shipment of biologics. The technical responsibilities of the program were assigned to the Hygienic Laboratory.

The Advisory Board for the Biologics Control Division was established July 1.

The Pan American Sanitary Bureau was established December 2. The Public Health and Marine Hospital Service began international health cooperation.

1904 The Hygienic Laboratory moved to a new building on a 5-acre tract at 25th and E Streets NW, Washington, D.C., on March 16.
1906 Medical care for merchant seamen and other beneficiaries of the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service began to be supported by direct congressional appropriations, with the repeal of the tonnage tax on June 30.
1909 Dr. John F. Anderson was appointed Hygienic Laboratory director on October 1.

Dr. Rupert Blue was appointed Surgeon General of the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service on January 13.

The name Public Health and Marine Hospital Service was changed to Public Health Service (PHS) on August 14, and the research program was expanded to include other-than-communicable diseases field investigations, navigable stream pollution, and information dissemination.

1914 Dr. Joseph Goldberger announced his views of pellagra as a dietary deficiency, emphasizing the importance of dietary deficiency diseases.
1915 Dr. George W. McCoy was appointed Hygienic Laboratory director on November 20.

The Chamberlain-Kahn Act, passed July 9, provided for the study of venereal diseases. The PHS made grants to 25 institutions, establishing a precedent for the Federal Government to seek assistance of scientists through grants.

The PHS reserve corps was established by law on October 27, during the influenza pandemic, as a means of coping with the emergencies.

1920 Dr. Hugh Smith Cumming was appointed PHS Surgeon General on March 3.
1921 The Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Laboratory was established in a former school building in Hamilton, Mont., on September 20 as a recognized PHS field station.

The Library of the Office of the Surgeon General (Army) was renamed the Army Medical Library in January.

A Special Cancer Investigations Laboratory was established by PHS investigators at Harvard Medical School on August 1.

1929 On January 19, the Narcotics Control Act was passed, authorizing construction of two hospitals for drug addicts, and creation of a PHS Narcotics Division.

On April 9, the Advisory Board for the Hygienic Laboratory became the National Advisory Health Council.

On May 26 the Ransdell Act redesignated the Hygienic Laboratory as the National Institute of Health, authorizing $750,000 for construction of two buildings for NIH, and creating a system of fellowships.

On June 14, Public Law 357 authorized creation of a separate Bureau of Narcotics in the Treasury Department and changed the PHS Narcotics Division to the Division of Mental Hygiene. The law gave the Surgeon General authority to investigate the causes, treatment, and prevention of mental and nervous diseases.


A narcotic “farm” at Lexington, Ky., was completed and opened on May 29.

On August 10, Mr. and Mrs. Luke I. Wilson made a gift of 45 acres of their estate “Tree Tops” for use of the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD.

Title VI of the Social Security Act was passed August 14 authorizing the expenditure of up to $2 million on health grants to the states for “investigation of disease and problems of sanitation.”

1936 Dr. Thomas Parran was appointed PHS Surgeon General on April 6.

The Rocky Mountain Laboratory became part of the National Institute of Health in February, and was administratively made part of the Division of Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Lewis R. Thompson was appointed director of the National Institute of Health on February 1.

With the reorganization of the National Institute of Health into eight divisions, the biologics control program, previously the responsibility of the Division of Pathology and Bacteriology, NIH, was assigned to a newly established Division of Biologics Control (redesignated Biologics Control Laboratory, 1944).

The National Cancer Institute Act was signed on July 23.


The National Advisory Cancer Council recommended approval of the first awards for fellowships in cancer research on January 3.

Mrs. Luke I. Wilson made a second gift of 10.7 acres, to NIH on May 28.

The cornerstone for Building 1 was laid June 30.

Congress approved construction of new, larger laboratory facilities, and NIH moved to Bethesda, MD., in July.

Mrs. Luke I. Wilson made a third gift, 14.4 acres of land, to NIH on September 30.

The narcotics hospital at Fort Worth, Tex., was dedicated on October 28.

1939 Under a Reorganization Act dated April 3, the PHS was transferred from the Treasury Department to the Federal Security Agency.

Mrs. Luke I. Wilson made a fourth gift, 11.6 acres of land, to NIH on September 27.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the buildings and the grounds of the National Institute of Health on October 31.


Dr. Rolla Eugene Dyer was appointed director of the National Institute of Health on February 1.

A final gift of land was made by Mrs. Luke I. Wilson on March 17 bringing the total to 92 acres. This was the nucleus of the present 306.4-acre reservation. Additional land was acquired through a series of purchases.

1943 NIH was given bureau status in the PHS on November 11.

The PHS act was approved on July 1, consolidating and revising existing public health legislation, and giving NIH the legislative basis for its postwar program, with general authority to conduct research. Under this act NCI became a division of NIH.


The Research Grants Office was created at NIH in January to administer the Office of Scientific Research and Development projects transferred to the PHS at the end of World War II and to operate a program of extramural research grants and fellowship awards.

The National Mental Health Act was passed July 3.

On August 12, the Research Grants Office became the Research Grants Division (later renamed Division of Research Grants). The division was instructed by the National Advisory Health Council to establish study sections for scientific and technical review of research grant applications, and to explore neglected areas of research in the health sciences.

The Hospital Survey and Construction Act, introduced by Senators Lister Hill and Harold H. Burton, was passed on August 13, authorizing the Hill- Burton program.


Dr. Leonard A. Scheele was appointed PHS Surgeon General on April 6.

On June 16 the National Heart Act was signed. It authorized the National Heart Institute and changed the name of the National Institute of Health to National Institutes of Health.

The National Dental Research Act, passed June 24, authorized the National Institute of Dental Research.

The National Heart Institute was established August 1.

The National Institute of Dental Research was established September 16.

Construction of the Clinical Center was started in November.

The National Microbiological Institute and the Experimental Biology and Medicine Institute were established on November 1.

The Rocky Mountain Laboratory and Biologics Control Laboratory became two of the four components of the National Microbiological Institute on November 1.


The purchase of 115.8 acres from the Town & Country Golf Club, Inc., for $600,000 was concluded February 11.

The purchase of 47.9 acres of land from Mr. and Mrs. G. Freeland Peter for $505,000 was concluded on February 14.

The National Institute of Mental Health was established on April 15, with the abolishment of the Division of Mental Hygiene.

The first issue of The NIH Record was published May 20.

The purchase of 50.2 acres of land from the Sisters of the Visitation for $173,058 was concluded on June 28.

Dr. Frank B. Rogers became director of the Army Medical Library in October.


The Omnibus Medical Research Act, signed August 15, authorized the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness and the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases, the latter absorbing the Experimental Biology and Medicine Institute. The act also gave the Surgeon General authority to establish new institutes.

Dr. William H. Sebrell, Jr. was appointed NIH director on October 1.

The National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness and the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases were established November 22.


The first R. E. Dyer Lecture was given by Dr. George W. Beadle, California Institute of Technology, June 21.

President Harry S. Truman laid the Clinical Center cornerstone on June 22.

1952 The Army Medical Library was renamed Armed Forces Medical Library in April.

The first NIH Lecture was given on January 21 by Dr. Severo Ochoa of New York University College of Medicine.

PHS became part of the newly created Department of Health, Education, and Welfare on April 11.

The Clinical Center was dedicated on July 2, extending the clinical dimension of PHS research programs.

The first patient was admitted to the Clinical Center on July 6.


A central data processing facility was established in the Office of the Director, NIH.

The NIH Graduate School Program began on September 27.


The biologics control function was placed in the newly formed Division of Biologics Standards in June. The Division of Research Services and Division of Business Operations were also formed.

The Cancer Chemotherapy National Service Center was established April 1 to coordinate the first national cancer chemotherapy program.

The Mental Health Study Act was passed July 28.

Dr. James A. Shannon was appointed NIH director on August 1.

The National Microbiological Institute became the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) by order of the Surgeon General on December 29. The Biologics Control Laboratory was detached from the institute and expanded to division status within NIH.


In January the biometric facility became the Biometrics Branch in the new Division of Research Services.

Dr. Leroy E. Burney was appointed PHS Surgeon General August 8.

The Armed Forces Medical Library was designated the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and placed under PHS October 1.

1957 The Center for Aging Research was established November 27 as the focal center for NIH extramural activities in gerontology.

On July 16 the Division of General Medical Sciences was established by order of the Surgeon General, extending research into noncategorical areas covered until that time by the Division of Research Grants.

The Center for Aging Research was transferred from the National Heart Institute to the Division of General Medical Sciences on November 4.


The Office of Administrative Management was formed July 15, consolidating the Division of Business Operations and other managerial responsibilities.

Congress appropriated $2 million for the establishment of one or two private research centers on August 19.


On March 8 the Surgeon General approved establishment of a Computation and Data Processing Branch in the Division of Research Services.

NIH acquired 513 acres of farmland near Poolesville, MD., on May 6. This land became the site of the NIH Animal Center.

The International Health Research Act was passed July 12, extending NIH international programs.


The Surgeon General established the Center for Research in Child Health in the Division of General Medical Sciences on February 17.

Dr. Luther L. Terry was appointed PHS Surgeon General March 24.

On May 26, DHEW Secretary Abraham A. Ribicoff dedicated the new NIDR building.

The first Jules Freund Lecture was given by Dr. Merrill W. Chase of the Rockefeller Institute on November 15.

The NIH European Office was established in Paris, France, on December 18.


The NIH Latin American Office was established in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 1.

The Division of Research Facilities and Resources was established July 15.

Public Law 87-838, passed October 17, authorized the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Five acres of land for a Gerontology Research Center were donated by the City of Baltimore in December.


The NIH Pacific Office was established in Tokyo, Japan, on January 1.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences were established on January 30.

The Center for Research in Child Health and the Center for Research in Aging (established in 1956) were transferred from NIGMS to NICHD.

The surgical wing for the Clinical Center was dedicated September 5.

The first NIH International Lecture was given October 31 by Dr. Walsh McDermott of Cornell University Medical College.


The Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (MEDLARS) became operational at the NLM in January.

The Division of Computer Research and Technology was established on April 16.

On September 19 Congress authorized planning funds for a central environmental health research facility.

A special virus-leukemia program was initiated under a special appropriation, included in the FY 1965 appropriation signed into law on September 19.


On January 7, the Surgeon General announced that the National Environmental Health Sciences Center would be located in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

The NIH Animal Center, Poolesville, MD., officially opened May 27 with 2 days of orientation for NIH employees, area residents and the press after completion of the first of three phases of an $18 million construction program.

NIH received a $20,250,000 supplemental appropriation on August 31 to intensify and expand support of research in heart disease, cancer, stroke and related diseases.

Dr. William H. Stewart, appointed PHS Surgeon General September 24, took office on October 2.

A reorganization of the DHEW provided for an expansion of the secretary’s office with the creation of three new assistant secretaries, including an assistant secretary for health and scientific affairs.

Dr. Philip R. Lee was appointed to the new position of assistant secretary for health and scientific affairs on November 2.


The Division of Regional Medical Programs was created on February 1 to administer grants under the Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke Amendments of 1965. Dr. Robert Q. Marston was appointed NIH associate director for regional medical programs and chief of the division.

At a White House meeting June 27, the NIH director and institute directors discussed with the President how the benefits of research findings in health could be brought more rapidly to all the people. Later in the year, a report to the President described current NIH research efforts on the major U.S. disease problems and set forth the status of those problems, the nature of present and planned investigative efforts and the problems of and opportunities for further research.

A Division of Environmental Health Sciences was established in NIH November 1 to conduct, foster and coordinate research on the biological, chemical, and physical effects of environmental agents. Dr. Paul Kotin, scientific director for etiology, NCI, was named director of the new division.

An advisory committee to the NIH director was appointed on November 9 to provide advice on the further development of NIH research and related programs.


The National Institute of Mental Health was separated from NIH and raised to bureau status in PHS by a reorganization that became effective January 1. NIMH’s Division of Clinical, Behavioral and Biological Research, within the mental health Intramural Research Program, comprising activities con- ducted in the Clinical Center and other NIH facilities, continued here under an agreement for joint administration between the two companion bureaus. The Toxicology Information Program was established at NLM, January 1, in response to recommendations of the President’s Science Advisory Committee. The program includes the entire range of chemical effects on living organisms.

The PHS Audiovisual Facility, renamed the National Medical Audiovisual Center, became an NLM component July 1.

On September 26, the deed for 509.25 acres of Research Triangle Park, N.C., to serve as a permanent site for the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, was presented to the Surgeon General.


Establishment of the John E. Fogarty International Center for Advanced Study in the Health Sciences (FIC) was given departmental approval February 26. The center became operational on July 1, at which time the NIH Office of International Research was abolished and certain of its functions were transferred to FIC and NIAID.

Under a reorganization of health activities announced on April 1, NIH assumed status as a new operating agency within the department, with the NIH director reporting directly to the assistant secretary for health and scientific Affairs. Under the reorganization, the Bureau of Health Manpower and the National Library of Medicine became components of NIH.

On June 15 the four-story $7.5 million Gerontology Research Center building, located at and operated in cooperation with Baltimore City Hospitals, was officially opened.

A proposed facility to house the biomedical communications network was designated the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications by passage of P.L. 90-456 on August 3.

Established by the DHEW secretary on August 9, the Center for Population Research conducts a contract and grant program in population and reproduction research. The center was designated by the President as the primary Federal agency responsible for population research and training.

On August 16 the National Eye Institute was created to build an enlarged program based on blindness research formerly conducted in the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness. The legislation also changed the NINDB name to the National Institute of Neurological Diseases.

Dr. Robert Q. Marston was sworn in as NIH director on August 29.

A Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded on October 16 to Dr. Marshall W. Nirenberg, chief of NIH’s Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics, for discovering the key to deciphering the genetic code. He was the first NIH Nobel laureate, and the first Federal employee to receive a Nobel Prize.

On October 24 the President signed into law (P.L. 90-639) legislation changing the name of the NIND to the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke.

The National Eye Institute was established on December 26.


A further reorganization of the NIH internal structure announced January 4 renamed the Bureau of Health Manpower as the Bureau of Health Professions Education and Manpower Training and expanded it to include seven divisions, one of which was the Division of Research Resources (DRR).

The Division of Environmental Health Sciences was elevated to institute status on January 12, thus becoming the 10th NIH institute.

Dr. Roger O. Egeberg was named DHEW assistant secretary for health and scientific affairs on July 14, succeeding Dr. Lee.

On November 10, the DHEW secretary redesignated the National Heart Institute as the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI).

1970 A reorganization of the Bureau of Health Professions Education and Manpower Training renamed it the Bureau of Health Manpower Education on September 18. DRR was separated from the bureau and became a division within NIH.

Dr. Merlin K. DuVal was appointed DHEW assistant secretary for health and scientific affairs on July 1, succeeding Dr. Egeberg.

The White House Conference on Aging recommended creating a separate National Institute on Aging on December 2.

On December 23 the President signed the National Cancer Act of 1971 initiating a National Cancer Program, establishing the President’s Cancer Panel, a National Cancer Advisory Board and 15 new research, training and demonstration cancer centers.


The National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases was renamed the National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases on May 19. On July 1, DBS transferred from NIH and officially became a sixth bureau, the Bureau of Biologics in the Food and Drug Administration. The bureau continues to use NIH facilities and buildings.

The DHEW secretary approved a reorganization of NHLI on July 14, elevating the institute to bureau status within NIH. A bureau-level organization was established for the National Cancer Institute on July 27.

On October 25 Public Law 92-564 established a temporary National Commission on Multiple Sclerosis (supported by NINDS).

Dr. Christian B. Anfinsen, NIAMDD, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on ribonuclease.


Dr. Charles C. Edwards was appointed DHEW assistant secretary for health on April 18, succeeding Dr. DuVal.

Dr. Robert S. Stone was sworn in as the 10th NIH director on May 29.

The Bureau of Health Manpower Education was transferred from NIH to the new Health Resources Administration on July 1 and renamed the Bureau of Health Resources Development.

The National Institute of Mental Health rejoined the National Institutes of Health on July 1. On September 25, NIMH became part of the new Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration.


The Research on Aging Act of 1974, creating the National Institute on Aging, was signed into law on May 31.

On July 23, the National Cancer Act Amendments of 1974 were signed by the President to improve the National Cancer Program. It also established a President’s Biomedical Research Panel.

The National Institute on Aging was established on October 7.

The Interagency Primate Steering Committee was established by the DHEW assistant secretary for health with NIH as the lead agency.

Institutional Relations Branch was transferred on October 27 from DRG to the immediate Office of the Director, NIH, and renamed the Office for Protection From Research Risks.


On March 13 the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke was renamed the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke.

Dr. Theodore Cooper was appointed DHEW assistant secretary for health on July 1, succeeding Dr. Edwards.

Dr. Donald S. Fredrickson was sworn in as the 11th NIH director on July 1.

The Adult Development and Aging Branch and the Gerontology Research Center were separated from NICHD to become the core of the National Institute on Aging, also on July 1.


On June 25, the National Heart and Lung Institute was renamed the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Dr. D. Carleton Gajdusek, NINCDS, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Dr. Baruch Blumberg, Institute for Cancer Research. Dr. Gajdusek was honored for his research on kuru and Dr. Blumberg for his work on the Australia antigen at the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases (1957-1964).


Construction of the Ambulatory Care Research Facility was started in April.

On July 13, Dr. Julius B. Richmond took the oath of office as DHEW assistant secretary for health and Surgeon General, becoming the first person to hold both offices simultaneously.

1978 On November 15 the DHEW secretary announced the establishment of the National Toxicology Program under the direction of NIEHS.

Dr. Hans J. Muller Eberhard, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, delivered the first Kinyoun Lecture on April 24.

A protocol of cooperation in the exchange of information on medicine and public health between the United States and China was signed on June 22 in Beijing’s historic Great Hall. The DHEW secretary signed on behalf of the United States.

On July 18 NCI and the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD., agreed to cooperate in a cancer treatment research program.


DHEW became the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on May 14.

A separate Department of Education was established.

On May 22, the Lister Hill Center for Biomedical Communications was dedicated as part of NLM.


On May 14 Dr. Edward N. Brandt, Jr., was sworn in as assistant secretary for health.

The National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolic, and Digestive Diseases was renamed the National Institute of Arthritis, Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney diseases on June 23.

On June 30 Dr. Fredrickson stepped down as NIH director. Dr. Thomas E. Malone was appointed acting director.

The Ambulatory Care Research Facility was officially dedicated on October 22. The research hospital was renamed the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center in honor of the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Sen. Magnuson was involved in support of biomedical research at NIH since 1937.

Dr. C. Everett Koop became PHS Surgeon General on November 16.


On April 22 NIADDK was converted to bureau status, joining NCI, NHLBI, and NLM. Dr. James B. Wyngaarden, chairman of the Duke University department of medicine, was appointed NIH director on April 29.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development marked its 20th anniversary on September 20.

NIGMS celebrated its 20th anniversary by establishing the DeWitt Stetten, Jr., Lectureship. Dr. David S. Hogness, Stanford University, gave the first lecture, October 13.

The National Institute on Aging opened its first on-campus research unit in the NIH Clinical Center.

The NIEHS facility in Research Triangle Park, N.C., was dedicated on November 15.

Lasker Foundation Awards were presented on November 17 to three NIH scientists: Dr. Elizabeth Neufeld, NIADDK; Dr. Roscoe O. Brady, NINDS; and Dr. Robert C. Gallo, NCI.


On January 18, Building 1 was officially named the James A. Shannon Building in honor of the former NIH director (1955-1968).

The first multidisciplinary pain clinic in the United States devoted exclusively to research was opened in the Clinical Center March 21 by NIDR.

NCI dedicated its R.A. Bloch International Cancer Information Center on October 2. The building houses the institute’s information programs that serve health professionals and scientists.

In December, the Clinical Center celebrated its 30th anniversary of operation.


NIH purchased the Convent of the Sisters of the Visitation of Washington along with about 11 acres of land for $4.5 million.

In May NCI scientists headed by Dr. Robert C. Gallo, Jr., uncovered strong evidence that variants of a human cancer virus called HTLV-III are the primary cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

DCRT celebrated its 20th anniversary in May.

NIH and Howard Hughes Medical Institute launched a multimillion dollar cooperative program in August to help increase the vigor of American biomedical research and continue the flow of new doctors into research areas.

The former Convent was dedicated September 19 as the Mary Woodard Lasker Center for Health Research and Education.


NIH and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute chose the first 25 HHMI-NIH research scholars in June.

In July the NIA celebrated its 10th anniversary.


In May the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases became a separate institute separated from its parent NIADDK – now called the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Also created was the National Center for Nursing Research.

NIH held the First Intramural Research Day on September 25 featuring symposia and poster sessions.

In June NIAID funded 14 centers to evaluate experimental drugs in the treatment of AIDS.

NIH opened its year-long centennial celebration – A Century of Science for Health – on October 16.


NIH scheduled monthly events, hosted by individual components throughout the year, to commemorate its 100th anniversary.

NIAID awarded contracts to five medical centers to establish AIDS treatment evaluation units.

NIEHS celebrated its 20th anniversary, while NIGMS and DRR marked their 25th.

Fifty-six promising science students – one from each state and U.S. possession – were honored by NIH as centennial scholars.

On July 23 President Reagan named a 13-member Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic, which held its first meeting following the announcement.

NIH became a smoke-free agency on September 1, banning smoking in all buildings.

Hundreds of NIH alumni from the United States and abroad returned to the campus on October 15-16 to help close out the year-long celebration of the NIH centennial.


NIH was honored by Spain with the presentation of the Grand Cross of the Civil Order of Health.

The NICHD celebrated its 25th anniversary and NIAID and NIDR marked their 40th.

The Children’s Inn at NIH, a temporary home away from home for NIH pediatric patients, was dedicated. A gift of $2.5 million from Merck and Co., Inc. was donated toward the construction of the building.

“Sky Horizon,” a sculpture created by Louise Nevelson, was given to NIH by Edwin C. Whitehead, founder of the Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research.

Officials from NICHD, NINDS, and NIMH broke ground for a facility they will share – Building 49, the Child Health and Neurosciences Building.

November marked the establishment of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The parent institute was renamed the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.


On May 10, Building 31 was named the Claude Denson Pepper Bldg. to honor NIH’s “legislative father.”

The NIH Record marked its 40th year of publication in May.

On May 22, NIH conducted its first gene transfer in humans. A cancer patient was infused with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) that had been altered by insertion of a gene. This allowed scientists to track the special cancer-fighting cells in the body to increase the understanding of TIL therapy.


The National Center for Human Genome Research was established in January.

DRR and DRS merged in March and named the National Center for Research Resources.

On June 21 the Children’s Inn at NIH opened its doors to pediatric patients and their families. The President and Mrs. Bush attended the ceremonies.

The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee approved the first experiments involving transfer of human genes for therapeutic purposes on July 31. The treatment was initiated on September 14 in a 4-year-old girl with adenosine deaminase deficiency.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases marked their 40th anniversaries.

It was announced in September that the gene that caused osteoarthritis was isolated by scientists supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases.

The Office of Research on Women’s Health was established to strengthen NIH’s efforts to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness in women and to enhance research related to diseases and conditions that affect women.


On January 29, NIH scientists treated the first cancer patients with human gene therapy. Two patients received transfusions of special cancer-killing cells removed from their own tumors and armed in the laboratory with a gene capable of producing a potent antitumor toxin, tumor necrosis factor.

Dr. Bernadine Healy was confirmed as NIH’s 13th director on March 21. She was the first woman appointed to this post.

In August the National Center for Human Genome Research announced the start of a new, unified effort to develop a ‘’framework’’ map of the human genome – expected to take 2 to 3 years to complete.


The National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and National Institute of Mental Health were transferred from the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration to become part of the NIH.

Two components – NICHD and NIGMS – celebrated their 30th anniversaries on September 21 and October 17, respectively.


NIH Director Bernadine Healy stepped down to return to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

The Clinical Center celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Sixteen university medical programs were launch sites for the 15-year, $625 million Women’s Health Initiative. About 3,000 women will be enrolled at each center to investigate women’s most common causes of death and disability.

Dr. Harold Varmus was appointed NIH’s 14th Director.

FIC noted its 25th anniversary.

The National Center for Nursing Research became the 16th institute.


Former director, Dr. James Shannon, died.

NHLBI scientists for the first time successfully transferred a normal cystic fibrosis gene into the cells lining a CF patient’s lungs.

Researchers at NIEHS isolated the BRCA1 gene – responsible for about 5 percent of all breast cancers and 25 percent in women under age 30.

Dr. Martin Rodbell, NIEHS, shared the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for research on G proteins, key components of the communication system that regulates cellular activity.


NLM unveiled the “Visible Man,” a detailed atlas of human anatomy created from thousands of images of a human body collected by radiographic and photographic techniques.

NIAAA celebrated its 25th anniversary.


The first multicenter trial of bone marrow transplantation in children with sickle cell disease demonstrated that the procedure can provide a cure for young patients that have a matched sibling, according to NHLBI-supported scientists.

DRG celebrated its 50th anniversary and NIEHS noted its 30th.


Researchers with NHGRI completed a map of chromosome 7, an important milestone within the Human Genome Project.

DRG was renamed the Center for Scientific Review and DCRT became the Center for Information Technology.

Vice President Al Gore performed an “inaugural search,” opening up free access on the world wide web to NLM’s MEDLINE.

Results from the NIH-supported Dietary and Systolic Hypertension trial indicated that blood pressure can be swiftly and significantly lowered through a diet low in fat and high in vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy foods.

A team led by NHGRI scientists identified a defective gene that causes some inherited cases of Parkinson’s disease.

Results from an NIH trial showed that a low-dose diuretic cuts by half the chance that an older person with high systolic blood pressure will develop heart failure. In those who had already had a heart attack, their chance of developing heart failure dropped by 80 percent.

A team led by NIH-funded scientists determined the complete genome sequence of the E. coli bacterium, a laboratory workhorse. This accomplishment gives researchers a powerful new tool for understanding fundamental questions of biological evolution and function.

On November 4, Vice President Al Gore and Senator Mark O. Hatfield attended the groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Clinical Center, which will be called the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center.


Building 20, NIH’s apartment building, was carefully demolished to make way for the new Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center.

NICHD’s new zebrafish facility opened. Zebrafish have become the mainstay of developmental biologists for studying the development of the vascular system and central nervous system, as well as the functional genomics of the zebrafish.

A large prevention trial conducted by NCI showed that long-term use of a moderate-dose vitamin E supplement substantially reduced prostate cancer incidence and deaths in male smokers.

In a cooperative endeavor (Neurolab) between NASA, NIH and others, astronauts on Space Shuttle Columbia conducted research on how the neurological system responds to the challenges of space flight.

Results from a NCI-sponsored clinical trial showed that women at high risk of developing breast cancer who took the drug tamoxifen had 49 percent fewer cases of breast cancer than those who didn’t. Tamoxifen was hailed as the first drug to prevent breast cancer in women at high risk for the disease.

The new NIH Intramural Sequencing Center opened in Gaithersburg. NISC is a 14-institute consortium that is dedicated to large-scale sequencing of human and animal DNA.

NIDR celebrated its 50th anniversary, with a name change to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Building 16, known as the Stone House, was renamed the “Lawton Chiles International House”; it will be the locus for international activities supported by FIC and other NIH and DHHS components.

Between 1992 and 1996, the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) dropped by 38 percent, much of that likely being due to a 66 percent decrease during the same period in the number of U.S. infants being placed to sleep on their stomachs. A national Back to Sleep Campaign – encouraging parents to put their infants to sleep on their backs – was launched in 1994 by NICHD, in partnership with HHS and other organizations.

The complete sequence of two bacteria that are among the major causes of sexually transmitted diseases worldwide – Treponema pallidum, responsible for syphilis, and Chlamydia trachomatis, responsible for chlamydial infections – were obtained by two separate teams of scientists supported by NIAID and others.

NIDCD celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Senator John Glenn and six other astronauts spent nine days in space aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery conducting about 83 scientific projects, the most research-intensive space journey yet. Glenn, NASA and others worked with NIA to develop the projects.

NIAID celebrated its 50th anniversary.

NHLBI’s Framingham Heart Study celebrated its 50th anniversary.

An international team funded by NHGRI and others obtained the complete sequence of the 97-million-base genome of the roundworm, Caenorhabditis elegans. This marks the first time that scientists have spelled out the instructions for a complete animal which, like humans, has a nervous system, digests food, reproduces, and gets old, making it a very important organism in which to carry out studies that parallel human biology.


The new South Entry to the Clinical Center opened, thus facilitating construction on the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center on the north face of Building 10.

A team of investigators led by an NIAID grantee discovered that a subspecies of chimpanzees native to west Africa are the origin of HIV-1, the virus responsible for the global AIDS pandemic.

Underlying vitamin D deficiency in postmenopausal women is associated with increased risk of hip fracture, according to a study supported by NIA and NCRR.

NIDA, NIMH, and NINDS moved into the new Neuroscience Center office building on Executive Boulevard, which some have dubbed “NIH North”.

A meta-analysis study, led by an NICHD researcher, found that pregnant women infected with HIV could reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their infants by about 50 percent if they deliver by cesarean section before they go into labor and before their membranes rupture.

NIH Director Dr. Harold Varmus convened the first meeting of the Director’s Council of Public Representatives (COPR). The Council will provide advice and recommendations to, and consult with, the NIH Director regarding matters related to medical research, NIH’s policies and programs, and public participation in NIH’s activities. COPR was chartered in November 1998.

On June 9, President Bill Clinton unveiled the cornerstone for the new Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center, which initially will focus on accelerating the search for a vaccine against AIDS. Earlier, Dr. Varmus named Dr. Gary Nabel as the director of the new VRC, which currently exists as a “center without walls”. The VRC is funded by NIAID and NCI and spear- headed by them and NIH’s Office of AIDS Research.

NLM’s MEDLINE added the 10 millionth journal citation to its database.

A joint Uganda-U.S. study, funded by NIAID, demonstrated a highly effective, affordable and practical strategy for preventing transmission of HIV from an infected mother to her newborn. A single-oral dose of the antiretroviral drug nevirapine given to the HIV-infected mother while in labor and another to her baby within three days of birth reduced the transmission rate by half compared with a similar short course of AZT.

Women with preeclampsia, a potentially fatal complication of pregnancy, were found to have an imbalance of two key chemical compounds that control blood pressure, prostacyclin and thromboxane, months before their symptoms appeared, according to NICHD scientists.

NIDA celebrated its 25th anniversary.

NIH announced its plan to establish a repository called PubMed Central for free electronic distribution of primary research reports in the life sciences. The new site would be integrated with NLM’s widely used bibliographic site PubMed and is intended to be one of several repositories in an international system first proposed by NIH director Dr. Harold Varmus. PubMed Central would begin receiving, storing and distributing content – including peer- reviewed articles, preprints, and other screened reports from existing journals, new journals, and reputable scientific organizations – in January 2000.

Children born to mothers with untreated hypothyroidism during pregnancy were found to score lower on IQ tests than children of healthy mothers suggesting that early detection and treatment of hypothyroidism in pregnant women may be a critical part of prenatal care, according to a study funded by NICHD and others.

In October 1999, NIH announced a major research program involving 10 laboratories, called the Mouse Genome Sequencing Network, to map and sequence the DNA in the mouse genome.

A research effort led by NIAID scientists produced the first high-resolution genetic map of Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest malaria parasite, which is responsible for the death of more than two million people annually.

Scientists supported by NHGRI along with groups in England and Japan completed the first sequence of a human chromosome, chromosome 22. Genes on chromosome 22 have been implicated in immune system function, congenital heart disease, and several cancers including leukemia.

The National Toxicology Program, headquartered at NIEHS, announced that Federal regulatory agencies – FDA, OSHA, EPA and CPSC – would accept, for the first time, an alternative way to test chemicals for allergic contact dermatitis that could reduce by thousands the number of guinea pigs needed for such tests.

After leading NIH for 6 years, Dr. Harold Varmus left to become the President and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.


2000 On January 1, Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, deputy director of NIH, became the acting director.

Scientists funded by NIDCR and NIAMS, along with an NCI scientist discovered that leptin, the product of the obesity gene, acts as a bone inhibitor by telling the brain to slow down the rate of bone formation, showing for the first time that the brain has a central role in controlling bone formation and density.

A team including NCI scientists and grantees used microarray technology to show that the most common form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, is actually two distinct diseases, thus explaining why 40 percent of patients with this NHL can be cured through chemotherapy while others succumb to the disease. This is the first demonstration of a technology that promises to revolutionize cancer diagnosis as well as many other areas of research.

The NIEHS headquarters and laboratory Building 101 in Research Triangle Park, N.C., was renamed the Rall Building in honor of former NIEHS director, Dr. David Platt Rall, who died last year.

NLM received Vice President Al Gore’s Hammer Award for a series of improvements in its information services, including making its popular MEDLINE database of journal article references and abstracts free and easier for the public to use.

NIH launched the first phase of a consumer-friendly database, ClinicalTrials. gov, with information on more than 4,000 Federal and private medical studies involving patients and others at more than 47,000 locations nationwide. The new database may be reached at

CC and NIAID scientists demonstrated that the widely used herbal product St. John’s wort could significantly compromise the effectiveness of a protease inhibitor often used to treat those infected with HIV.

An NIAID study showed that a nasal spray flu vaccine not only protected young children against the three strains of influenza for which the vaccine was designed to provide protection but also a flu strain not covered by the vaccine. It also protected the children against flu-related middle-ear infections.

Scientists supported by NHGRI and DOE along with the private company Celera completely sequenced the genome of the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, which is used to study a host of biological questions related to aging, development, learning, memory and more.

NIH’s Office of Research on Minority Health and the Office of Research on Women’s Health celebrated their tenth anniversaries.

An NHLBI-supported clinical trial showed that lowering the amount of salt for those who ate a “usual” American diet as well as those following the DASH diet – rich in vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy foods and low in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol – lowered blood pressure correspondingly for both those with and without hypertension, including African Americans.

NIGMS and the Indian Health Service announced plans to collaborate on a new program, Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH), designed to promote, develop and support centers that will link the Native American community with organizations that conduct health research.

The international Human Genome Project public consortium – funded by NIH, DOE, and others – assembled a working draft of the sequence of the human genome. The information from this project has been completely, immediately, and freely released to the world with no restrictions on its use.

Researchers supported by NIGMS demonstrated that a simple and inexpensive change in basic surgical procedures – giving patients more oxygen during and immediately after surgery – can cut the rate of wound infections in half, thus saving millions of dollars in hospital costs by helping to prevent post-surgical wound infection, nausea and vomiting.

A team of scientists funded by NIAID determined the complete sequence of the genome of the bacterium – Vibrio cholerae – that causes cholera.


Grantees of NIAID and NHGRI and others sequenced the entire genome of a deadly strain of E. coli, a bacterium that is emerging as a major public health threat through contaminated ground beef, milk, fruits and vegetables. By comparing the sequence of this strain with that of harmless strains of E. coli, scientists may learn why only some forms cause disease and then find ways to prevent harmful strains from causing disease.

A team of NHGRI and NCI scientists and others developed a new genetic test that can distinguish between two types of hereditary breast cancer - caused by BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations – and sporadic breast cancer. The new approach uses microarray (gene chip) technology to analyze the activity of more than 5300 genes at once. This advance should ultimately help physicians diagnose the cause of a woman's breast cancer and guide decisions about the most effective treatments.

A team composed of scientists from NHGRI and NINDS, grantees of NHLBI and NIA, and others demonstrated that adult stem cells isolated from mouse bone marrow could become functioning heart muscle cells when injected into a damaged mouse heart. The new cells at least partially restored the heart's ability to pump blood.

NIAID grantees completed sequencing the genome of Streptococcus pyogenes, a bacterium that causes a wide variety of human diseases including strep throat, scarlet fever, pneumonia, toxic shock syndrome, blood "poisoning," acute rheumatic fever, rheumatic heart disease, and the flesh-eating disease known as necrotizing fasciitis. This information should aid scientists in developing new ways to prevent and treat these diseases.

Scientists from NICHD developed and, along with an NIDDK scientist and others, tested the first vaccine capable of protecting children ages 2 to 5 against typhoid fever. Seemingly the most effective typhoid vaccine ever developed, it is also virtually free of side effects. About 16 million people worldwide develop typhoid each year, and 600,000 die from it, mainly in developing countries without adequate sewage and sanitation.

Under a CRADA with the drug company Novartis, NCI scientists found that a new drug known as Gleevec was effective against chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in patients for whom standard treatments had failed. (CML is a disease in which too many white blood cells are made in the bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside the large bones in the body.) NCI funded the lion's share of the basic research that led to the discovery and development by Novartis of Gleevec, the first anti-cancer drug specifically developed to target the molecular problem that causes a particular type of cancer.

NHGRI scientists and others developed a method that combined microarray (gene chip) technology with a form of artificial intelligence. This enabled them to tell the difference between four childhood cancers that often look alike – neuroblastoma, Ewing's sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (Burkitt's lymphoma) and rhabdomyosarcoma. Because the treatments for these tumors are quite different, an accurate diagnosis can be critical for a child's survival. This study should help lead to the discovery of genes that are altered in these tumors and ultimately to the development of effective new treatments.

Grantees of NHLBI and NIA found that human heart muscle cells can regenerate after a heart attack. This finding opens up the possibility of repairing heart muscle damage after a heart attack.

Animal studies by NIDA researchers found that craving for cocaine seems to increase, rather than decrease, in the days and months after drug use has stopped. This phenomenon helps explain why addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease.

People at high risk for type 2 diabetes can sharply lower their chances of getting the disease by losing weight (5 percent to 7 percent of their body weight) and by getting 30 minutes of walking or other moderate exercise every day, according to the findings of a clinical trial sponsored by NIDDK.

On August 9, President Bush announced that Federal funds could be used to support research using existing lines of human embryonic stem cells that meet certain criteria. NIH then developed a registry of the known human embryonic stem cell lines so researchers could identify in their applications for funding which sources of stem cells they plan to use.

An NEI-sponsored clinical trial showed that people at high risk of developing advanced stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) significantly lowered that risk by taking a high-dose combination of zinc and the antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene. These nutrients are the first effective treatment to slow the progression of AMD, a leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in Americans 65 years of age and older.

2002 Scientists from NCI and FDA reported that patterns of proteins found in patients' serum may reflect the presence of ovarian cancer, even at early stages. Currently, more than 80 percent of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed at a late clinical stage and have a 20 percent or less chance of survival at five years. This new diagnostic concept is potentially applicable to the diagnosis of other diseases.

An NIDDK-clinical trial found that millions of overweight Americans at high risk for type 2 diabetes could delay and possibly prevent the disease with moderate diet and exercise.

Investigators led by an intramural NIAID researcher successfully identified a group of Norwalk-like viruses as the leading cause of gastroenteric illness in Maryland nursing homes. Gastroenteritis plagues nursing home residents every year, but scientists had been unable to identify the predominant cause of these outbreaks. Now, effective prevention and control strategies can be developed.

NCRR-supported scientists were part of a team that cloned the world's first "knockout" pigs – ones with a particular gene removed. The gene they removed was for a molecule on the surface of the pig cells that the human immune system recognizes and attacks, leading to the failure of transplanted tissues or organs.

Research funded by NINR showed that rural older women with the common condition of urinary incontinence (UI) who received a behavioral management intervention in their homes reduced UI severity by a surprising 61% compared to the control group, whose UI severity increased by 184%.

NIA-supported scientists found that more frequent participation in cognitively stimulating activities is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease.

A team of NICHD and other scientists developed the first vaccine against Staphylococcus aureus, a major cause of infection and death among hospital patients.

People with elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood had nearly double the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD), according to a team of scientists supported by NIA and NINDS. The findings, in a group of participants in NHLBI's long-running Framingham Study, are the first to tie homocysteine levels measured several years before with a later diagnosis of AD and the other dementias, providing some of the most powerful evidence yet of an association between high plasma homocysteine and later significant memory loss.

Scientists at NIDDK and others have successfully used the hormone leptin to treat patients suffering from lipodystrophy, a rare and difficult-to-treat disorder that shares some of the characteristics of typical type 2 diabetes.

Middle-aged Americans face a 90 percent chance of developing high blood pressure at some time during the rest of their lives, according to a new study supported by NHLBI. However, the risk of developing severe degrees of high blood pressure has decreased in the past 25 years, due partly to improved treatment.

The anti-diabetes drug metformin appears to reduce the likelihood of early miscarriage in women with a common form of female infertility – polycystic ovarian disease – according to a study funded by NICHD.

Scientists supported by NEI found that atropine eye drops given once a day to treat moderate amblyopia, or lazy eye, work as well as the standard treatment of patching one eye. Amblyopia is the most common vision problem in children. The finding could lead to more success in correcting amblyopia by helping children avoid the social stigma of wearing an eye patch and making it easier for parents to help their kids stick to the treatment.

Many obese children and adolescents have impaired glucose tolerance, a condition that often appears before the development of type 2 diabetes, according to researchers funded by NICHD and NCRR. Efforts to reduce obesity in children and youth who have impaired glucose tolerance might help to prevent their developing type 2 diabetes.

NIAID released their Counter-Bioterrorism Research Agenda, a document describing an accelerated research plan for the most threatening agents of bioterrorism. The agenda outlines the research NIAID will undertake to help protect civilian populations from diseases such as smallpox, anthrax and plague should those who wish to do harm unleash them intentionally.

Results of an NIAID study indicate that the existing U.S. supply of smallpox vaccine – 15.4 million doses – could successfully be diluted up to five times and retain its potency, effectively expanding the number of individuals it could protect from the contagious disease. The success of this study puts us one step closer to the goal of having enough vaccine for every American if needed to respond to a potential outbreak.

Full-term infants who are born small score an average of 11 points higher on IQ tests if they are exclusively breast-fed for the first six months of life compared to those who are given formula or solids early on, according to a study conducted by researchers at NICHD and others.

A NIDA-funded study found that adolescent depression, combined with high receptivity to tobacco advertising, plays a powerful role in whether a teen smokes cigarettes.

A team of scientists partly supported by NIDCR identified the first gene that, when altered, triggers hereditary gingival fibromatosis, or HGF, the most common of the rare inherited gum conditions in which gums grow abnormally over the teeth.

An NINDS study showed that Parkinson's disease also causes widespread damage to the sympathetic nervous system, which controls blood pressure, pulse rate, perspiration, and many other automatic responses to stress. This study is the first to show that the disease affects sympathetic nerve endings in the thyroid gland and the kidney. The findings help explain the blood pressure regulation problems commonly found in PD and may lead to new treatments for the disease.

The first major NIH clinical trial for dialysis in over 20 years, funded by NIDDK, confirmed that the minimum dialysis dose recommended by treatment guidelines is adequate and, in general, a higher dose and special filters provide no added benefit to patients.

A single gene change in a relatively benign recent ancestor of the bacterium that causes bubonic plague played a key role in the evolution of the deadly disease, according to NIAID researchers. By acquiring this gene, the bacterium gradually changed from a germ that causes a mild stomach illness acquired through contaminated food or water to the flea-borne agent of the "Black Death," which killed one-fourth of Europe's population in the 14th century.

Dr. Elias Zerhouni became the 15th director of the National Institutes of Health.

Using Positron Emission Tomography (PET), researchers funded by NIMH found that successful treatment for depression triggers a common pattern of brain activity changes, whether induced by a widely prescribed medication or a placebo.

Scientists at NIAID's Vaccine Research Center (VRC) and their colleagues demonstrated that HIV selectively disables the immune system's response against the virus by disproportionately infecting the very cells designed to fight it. Helper T cells help direct the immune system's response to microbial invaders. The helper T cells programmed to fight HIV are two to five times more likely to be infected with HIV than helper T cells programmed to take on other pathogens.

The international Mouse Genome Sequencing Consortium, jointly funded by NHGRI and several NIH Institutes along with the Wellcome Trust in the United Kingdom, announced that it had assembled and deposited into public databases an advanced draft sequence of the mouse genome, the genetic blueprint for the most important animal model in biomedical research. The sequence is freely available on the Internet.

Dr. Roderic I. Pettigrew was named the first director of NIH's new National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

Researchers used whole-genome sequencing technology and computational methods to genetically compare two important isolates of the anthrax bacterium: the well-known Ames strain and an isolate from the 2002 Florida anthrax attacks. These techniques will enable researchers to more accurately trace the origin of individual bacterial strains, determine if those strains have been genetically modified, and assess differences in their ability to cause disease or resist antibiotics. NIAID teamed with the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies to fund the research.

Researchers from NCI reported that the molecularly targeted drug bevacizumab slowed tumor growth in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer in adults.

NCRR and NIGMS celebrated their fortieth anniversaries.

Two drugs commonly used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) are more effective in combination than alone to prevent progression of this condition, according to results of a clinical trial funded by NIDDK and NCMHD. Finasteride (Proscar) and doxazosin (Cardura) together reduced the risk of BPH progression by 67 percent.

NIDCR scientists and grantees under laboratory conditions more than doubled the life span of adult stem cells from the bone marrow, while also enhancing their natural ability to form new bone and possibly cartilage. This finding marks a critical technical advance for scientists who hope one day to use these cells, called bone marrow stromal stem cells, to treat people with bone fractures, age-related bone loss, or other skeletal conditions.

A study funded by NEI, NCMHD and others discovered that eye drops used to treat elevated pressure inside the eye can be effective in delaying the onset of glaucoma. These results mean that treating elevated eye pressure delays or prevents the onset of glaucoma in some people.

NCI scientists used microarray technology to determine the patterns of genes that are active in tumor cells from which they were able to predict whether patients with the most common form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in adults are likely to be cured by chemo-therapy. Trials designed to correlate clinical results with molecular data will allow researchers to identify drugs that are effective in subgroups of cancer patients, an approach that has already proven effective in finding new agents to treat breast cancer and leukemia.

NINDS scientists found that embryonic mouse stem cells transformed into neurons in a lab dish and then transplanted into a rat model for Parkinson's disease (PD) form functional connections and reduce disease symptoms.

NINDS grantees and others showed that bone marrow-derived cells called mesenchymal stem cells have many of the characteristics of embryonic stem cells.

Former NIH Director Dr. Donald S. Fredrickson died.

Grantees of NIAMS and others isolated special muscle-generating stem cells that can improve muscle regeneration and deliver the missing protein dystrophin to damaged muscles in a mouse muscular dystrophy (MD) model.

NHLBI stopped early a major clinical trial of the risks and benefits of combined estrogen and progestin in healthy menopausal women due to an increased risk of invasive breast cancer. The large trial, a component of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), also found increases in coronary heart disease, stroke, and pulmonary embolism in study participants on estrogen plus progestin compared to women taking placebo pills. There were some benefits of estrogen plus progestin, including fewer cases of hip fractures and colon cancer, but on balance the harm was greater than the benefit.

NIAID scientists and others showed that special viruses are the culprits behind the emergence of certain virulent new bacterial strains. Those viruses, called bacteriophages, specifically infect bacteria, capture some of their genes, and transfer the genes from one microbe to the next and thus can create new bacterial strains with potentially deadly properties. The discovery identified several potential targets for vaccines or drugs to prevent or treat some severe infections.

Postmenopausal women who used estrogen replacement therapy for 10 or more years were at significantly higher risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who never used hormone replacement therapy in an NCI-funded trial. The relative risk for 10 to 19 years of use was 80 percent higher risk than non-users, and increased to a 220 percent higher risk than non-users for women who took estrogen for 20 or more years.

The NIH licensed a new technology that allows physicians and researchers to make detailed, three-dimensional maps of nerve pathways in the brain, heart muscle fibers, and other soft tissues. The new imaging technology, called Diffusion Tensor Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DT-MRI), was invented by researchers now at NICHD.

In an NIMH-funded clinical trial, one of a newer class of anti-psychotic medications, risperidone, was found to be successful and well tolerated for the treatment of serious behavioral disturbances associated with autistic disorder in children ages 5 to 17.

Excess body weight is strongly and independently associated with an increased risk of heart failure, according to an NHLBI-funded trial. This risk, which increases continuously with increasing degrees of body weight, is 34 percent higher for overweight individuals and 104 percent higher for obese persons.

Children who are poor readers appear to have a disruption in the part of their brain involved in reading phonetically, according to an NICHD brain imaging study. The researchers also found that children who read poorly but who do not receive any extra help or training eventually compensate for their disability by using other parts of the brain as backup systems for the impaired brain regions. However, most of these children will never read with the same fluency as good readers.

Researchers at NIAID have located two genes that give hepatitis A virus (HAV) its virulent properties. They also discovered that deliberately weakened HAV could quickly revert to its naturally occurring, infection-causing form. These findings indicate that making an improved vaccine for HAV will be a very difficult task.

Abnormal accumulation of two common lipids in motor nerve cells could play a critical role in the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, according to NIA researchers. The finding could help scientists develop drugs and other treatments that might one day slow or arrest the disease's progression.

Scientists supported by NHLBI have identified a gene variant that is associated with arrhythmia – abnormal heart rhythm – in African Americans. A variant of a cardiac sodium channel gene produces a small increase in risk of arrhythmia. When the variant is combined with other factors such as certain medications, low blood potassium, or structural heart disease, the risk of life-threatening arrhythmias is increased.

Children raised in a house with two or more dogs or cats during the first year of life may be less likely to develop allergic diseases as compared with children raised without pets, according to an NIAID-funded study. High pet exposure early in life appears to protect against not only pet allergy but also other types of common allergies, such as allergy to dust mites, ragweed, and grass. However, another study supported by NIAID, NIEHS, and NHLBI found that if a child's mother has asthma, then a cat in the home triples the risk that the child will develop persistent wheezing – an initial indicator of asthma – by age five.

Women with spontaneous premature ovarian failure (POF) are three hundred times more likely than members of the general population to develop a serious condition in which the body attacks the adrenal glands, according to NICHD researchers. The study also reports that an antibody is an effective way to diagnose the adrenal condition in women with spontaneous POF.

For the first time, doctors who work in maternal and fetal medicine have a way to detect brain activity in unborn children. Researchers supported by NINDS used a unique scanning device that can detect fetal brain activity in response to flashes of light transmitted through the mother's abdomen. With refinement, this technique may help physicians detect and prevent fetal brain damage resulting from maternal hypertension, diabetes, and other conditions.

A new approach to cancer treatment that replaces a patient's immune system with cancer-fighting cells can lead to tumor shrinkage. NCI researchers demonstrated that immune cells, activated in the laboratory against patients' tumors and then administered to those patients, could attack cancer cells in the body. The experimental technique, known as adoptive transfer, has shown promising results in patients with metastatic melanoma who have not responded to standard treatment.

Scientists at NIAID and their colleagues found that an enzyme called caspase-8, known to help trigger the programmed death of cells is also involved in activating many immune system cells to fight off infections. This information could yield a new class of drugs to treat immune system disorders.

NIH awarded a contract to Chimp Haven, Inc., a private, non-profit organization to establish and operate a chimpanzee sanctuary. The sanctuary will provide lifetime care for Federally owned or supported chimpanzees that are no longer needed for biomedical research.

Scientists funded by NIDCR discovered the gene that causes Van der Woude syndrome, the most common of the syndromic forms of cleft lip and palate. The term "syndromic" means babies are born with cleft lip and palate, in addition to other birth defects. This finding could direct them to genes involved in "non-syndromic" cleft lip and palate, one of the most common birth defects in the world.

NIAID-supported researchers proved conclusively that the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum became resistant to the anti-malarial drug chloroquine through mutations in a single parasite gene. This finding has potentially important implications for malaria treatment and control.

NIAID scientists found that the difference between the HIV-fighting white blood cells called CD8+ T cells in those rare individuals – known as nonprogressors – whose immune systems can control the spread of HIV and those who can't is not due to the quantity of these cells but to the fact that the cells function better in the nonprogressors. Understanding mechanisms by which the immune systems of long-term nonprogressors control HIV is important for the development of effective vaccines.

An NEI-funded study showed that immediately treating people who have early stage glaucoma could delay progression of the disease. This finding supports the medical community's emerging consensus that treatment to lower pressure inside the eye can slow glaucoma damage and subsequent vision loss.

Pregnant women who have low blood levels of the vitamin folate are more likely to have early miscarriages than are pregnant women who have adequate folate levels, according to a study funded by NICHD and others.

Patterns of proteins found in patients' blood may help distinguish between prostate cancer and benign conditions, according to scientists from NCI and FDA. The technique, which relies on a simple test using a drop of blood, may be useful in deciding whether or not to perform a biopsy in men with elevated levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA).

Patients in hospitals with the lowest nurse staffing levels (eight patients per nurse) have a 31% greater risk of dying than those in hospitals with four patients per nurse. On a national scale, staffing differences of this magnitude could result in as many as 20,000 unnecessary deaths annually, according to a study funded by NINR.

An international research consortium of NHGRI, other NIH components, and other countries launched a public-private effort to create the next generation map of the human genome. Called the International HapMap Project, this new venture is aimed at speeding the discovery of genes related to common illnesses such as asthma, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

NCI researchers have discovered that a molecule best known for its antimicrobial properties also has the ability to activate key cells in the immune response. This newly discovered function suggests the molecule, a peptide called ß-defensin 2, may be useful in the development of more effective cancer vaccines

This page was last reviewed on July 18, 2003 .

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