The National Institute on Aging’s Interventions Testing Program (ITP) wants to expand the involvement of the research community in this unique program, which tests in mice compounds that have the potential to promote healthy aging. The program already uses a community approach to strengthen program outcomes, with investigators in the extramural research community proposing many of these compounds.
This approach has proven successful. By tapping into a broad range of expertise, the ITP has benefited from proposals for a wide variety of compounds and dietary interventions. To date, the ITP has found six compounds that gave statistically significant positive effects on lifespan (five are published, one more in press). The investigators whose interventions are tested also benefit by playing an active role as collaborators, participating in data evaluation and publications.
The Collaborative Interactions Program (ITP CIP) is a new phase of community involvement meant to build on the initial program. ITP CIP is looking for collaborators to expand the kinds of health span measurements they conduct on mice, as these are important complements to lifespan studies in phase I testing. They’re looking for people with expertise in mouse physiology and cellular function in particular, who can perform functional and biological tests that will complement those performed by the ITP sites. This added characterization will give them a more robust picture of the effects of the compounds they test.
What’s in it for you? The NIA expects the ITP CIP to help collaborations in several ways, including receiving data, cells, tissues, or live animals from the cohorts that the ITP is treating. They are also developing a tissue repository from treatment and control groups that will include fixed and frozen samples collected at different times and made available to collaborators. Finally, the program has limited numbers of untreated HET3 4-way-cross mice (used by the program to minimize the effect of strain-specific characteristics) of various ages that they can ship to collaborators’ labs to facilitate baseline studies in the HET3 mice.