Message from the Director
As we begin a new era of scientific discovery, we can anticipate major victories in understanding, treating, and preventing the diseases under the research mission of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Spanning the full spectrum of medicine and afflicting people of all ages and ethnic groups, these diseases encompass some of the most common, severe, and disabling conditions affecting Americans today: endocrine and metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, digestive diseases such as hepatitis and inflammatory bowel disease, kidney and urologic diseases such as kidney failure and prostate enlargement, and blood diseases such as the anemias.
The research advances of the past 60 years have saved lives, improved quality of life, and laid the foundation for today's progress. Most often, these advances resulted not from dramatic breakthroughs but from the steady, incremental findings of persistent investigative study. That investment is now paying off in unprecedented scientific opportunities.
Understanding the intricate molecular events that lead to cellular malfunction and disease is the key to developing effective treatments for each of these disorders. The challenges are huge because the processes governing cellular functions are extraordinarily complex. Yet we have great reason for hope. Researchers are better equipped than ever before with the tools and knowledge to discover the biological processes that lead to disease. Every day we learn more about how genes, which direct the function of cells, interact in complex ways with other genes and environmental triggers to cause disease. And we are just beginning to exploit the newly available human genome sequence with the help of exciting tools such as bioinformatics and microarray technology.
To seize full advantage of the opportunities ahead, the NIDDK is investing in a broad range of studies from basic biology to clinical trials. We have implemented a new trans-institute planning process to stimulate the most productive, innovative avenues of research. We already support many of the best minds in research, and we constantly strive to bring new scientific talent to bear on the research problems under our mission. We are committed to rapidly translating new knowledge into proven therapies that benefit patients.
In coming to the NIDDK web site, you will find information about many different health topics, current research and clinical trials, advances and initiatives, grant application procedures, and useful links. You will also find descriptions of the major research projects being conducted by NIDDK laboratories.
We hope you find the information you seek. We're always interested in hearing from you.
Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
National Institutes of Health
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