The Director of NIH, in coordination with the Directors of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the other national research institutes as appropriate, shall expand and intensify programs of such Institutes with respect to research and related activities concerning various forms of muscular dystrophy, including Duchenne, Becker, congenital muscular dystrophy, limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, myotonic, facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (referred to in this section as “FSHD”) and other forms of muscular dystrophy.
The Directors referred to in paragraph (1) shall jointly coordinate the programs referred to in such paragraph and consult with the Muscular Dystrophy Interagency Coordinating Committee established under section 6 of the MD–CARE Act.
The Director of NIH shall award grants and contracts under subsection (a)(1) to public or nonprofit private entities to pay all or part of the cost of planning, establishing, improving, and providing basic operating support for centers of excellence regarding research on various forms of muscular dystrophy. Such centers of excellence shall be known as the “Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Centers”.
Each center under paragraph (1) shall supplement but not replace the establishment of a comprehensive research portfolio in all the muscular dystrophies. As a whole, the centers shall conduct basic and clinical research in all forms of muscular dystrophy including early detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment, including the fields of muscle biology, genetics, noninvasive imaging, cardiac and pulmonary function, and pharmacological and other therapies.
The Director of NIH shall, as appropriate, provide for the coordination of information among centers under paragraph (1) and ensure regular communication and sharing of data between such centers.
Each center under paragraph (1) shall use the facilities of a single institution, or be formed from a consortium of cooperating institutions, meeting such requirements as may be prescribed by the Director of NIH.
Support for a center established under paragraph (1) may be provided under this section for a period of not to exceed 5 years. Such period may be extended for 1 or more additional periods not exceeding 5 years if the operations of such center have been reviewed by an appropriate technical and scientific peer review group established by the Director of NIH and if such group has recommended to the Director that such period should be extended.
The Director of NIH shall provide for a program under subsection (a)(1) under which samples of tissues and genetic materials that are of use in research on muscular dystrophy are donated, collected, preserved, and made available for such research. The program shall be carried out in accordance with accepted scientific and medical standards for the donation, collection, and preservation of such samples.
The Secretary shall establish the Muscular Dystrophy Coordinating Committee (referred to in this section as the “Coordinating Committee”) to coordinate activities across the National Institutes and with other Federal health programs and activities relating to the various forms of muscular dystrophy.
With respect to muscular dystrophy, the Chair of the Coordinating Committee shall serve as the principal advisor to the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary for Health, and the Director of NIH, and shall provide advice to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, and to the heads of other relevant agencies. The Coordinating Committee shall select the Chair for a term not to exceed 2 years.
The Chair of the Committee shall be appointed by and be directly responsible to the Secretary.
The Secretary shall, under subsection (a)(1), provide for a means through which the public can obtain information on the existing and planned programs and activities of the Department of Health and Human Services with respect to various forms of muscular dystrophy and through which the Secretary can receive comments from the public regarding such programs and activities.
The Coordinating Committee may evaluate the potential need to enhance the clinical research infrastructure required to test emerging therapies for the various forms of muscular dystrophy by prioritizing the achievement of the goals related to this topic in the plan under subsection (e)(1).