Columbia University Medical Center receives major new NIH Clinical Science 'investment' funds

$54 million to dramatically expand research resources, training; One of 12 Centers to launch National Consortium

NEW YORK, October 3, 2006 -- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today that Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) is a recipient of its new Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), an initiative that will transform how clinical and translational research is conducted across the nation. The CTSA centers being established by NIH will form a national consortium focused on innovation, streamlining and expediting clinical research and the delivery of new treatments to patients.

Columbia is one of just 12 academic health centers from across the nation to receive this highly competitive grant. A total of 32 institutions applied for the initial grants. By 2012 NIH envisions having as many as 60 institutions linked in a consortium to energize the discipline of clinical and translational science.

"The development of this consortium represents the first systematic change in our approach to clinical research in 50 years," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "Working together, these sites will serve as discovery engines that will improve medical care by applying new scientific advances to real world practice. We expect to see new approaches reach underserved populations, local community organizations, and health care providers to ensure that medical advances are reaching the people who need them."

New Irving Institute; Expanded Informatics, Biostatistics

The CTSA award will provide $54 million over five years to Columbia, allowing the establishment of an Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (IICTR). It will expand core resources available to clinical researchers, such as Columbia's already distinctive biomedical informatics support and biostatistical analysis. The proposed institute will be the intellectual home for the next generation of clinical and translational investigators across all four health sciences schools at CUMC, including the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Dental Medicine, the Mailman School of Public Health and the School of Nursing. Much of the clinical research is conducted with the support of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia's highly ranked strategic partner.

In addition to the newly awarded CTSA funding, the proposed Irving Institute will be made possible by support from the Herbert Irving Endowment, established by Herbert and Florence Irving, noted New York City philanthropists and honorary chairpersons for the Columbia University Medical Center capital campaign.

"This important NIH award will allow us to invest in our research heritage, inspiring and elevating collaboration, integration, and communication among our scientific community," said Lee Goldman, M.D., executive vice president of Columbia University and dean of the faculties of health sciences and medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. "This award is critical to ensuring that CUMC continues to lead, to innovate, and to be a valuable partner with like-minded academic health centers now and into the future."

The proposed institute will expand and reconstitute CUMC's existing NIH-funded General Clinical Research Center (GCRC), which has been a well-established and productive center of clinical research for 35 years. The CTSA will provide a wide range of support for CUMC research, including providing inpatient and outpatient facilities, core laboratory support, statistical analysis, and informatics and nutrition support.

"We expect this investment to allow exponential growth in clinical research here at Columbia University Medical Center," said Henry Ginsberg, M.D., director of the GCRC at Columbia University Medical Center and the principal investigator on the CTSA grant. "Columbia's current GCRC provides resource support for about 25 percent of clinical research across our health sciences campus, but with the expanded resources of the new CTSA, we hope to extend involvement to 75 percent." Along with Dr. Ginsberg, Melissa D. Begg, Sc.D., professor of clinical biostatistics in Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health, will be the co-director of the IICTR.

Developing Future Research Leaders

The CTSA will enable a number of new educational programs to prepare young researchers and clinicians for a succesful career in translational research. These programs will include:

  • Supporting junior faculty to be named as Irving Fellows. These individuals will work with senior faculty in developing novel approaches for more collaborative interdisciplinary clinical and translational research. In an expansion of the NIH's mentored research program, support will be provided in biomedical informatics, biostatistical and clinical trial design, bioethics, regulatory issues, and patient-oriented research.
  • Supporting basic science graduate students interested in expanding into clinical research and funding for clinical researchers to do rotations in basic sciences.
  • A new Ph.D. program in clinical research – one of just a few such programs in the country focused on clinical research.

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Investing in Physical Space

The CTSA funding will also support construction of physical spaces needed for new research integration initiatives. Columbia will expand by 40 percent – for a total of 35,000 square feet -- its space dedicated to these clinical/translational research programs. Added space will be allocated for outpatient research, a new educational center where masters and Ph.D. students can better interact and collaborate on research, and construction of a new center for community-based clinical and translational research near the CUMC campus.

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, nurses, dentists, and public health professionals at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the Mailman School of Public Health, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Visit www.cumc.columbia.edu.


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