NIH launches national consortium to transform clinical research

BETHESDA, Md. -- National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., today announced the launch of a national consortium that will transform how clinical and translational research is conducted, ultimately enabling researchers to provide new treatments more efficiently and quickly to patients. This new consortium, funded through Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs), begins with 12 academic health centers (AHCs) located throughout the nation. An additional 52 AHCs are receiving planning grants to help them prepare applications to join the consortium. When fully implemented in 2012, about 60 institutions will be linked together 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 Zerhouni. "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."

Applicants were encouraged to develop institutes, centers or departments for these awards and were challenged to devise innovative and far-reaching approaches to build academic homes for clinical and translational science. In response, the CTSA institutions are planning to:

  • Develop better designs for clinical trials to ensure that patients with rare as well as common diseases benefit from new medical therapies

  • Produce enriched environments to educate and develop the next generation of researchers trained in the complexities of translating research discoveries into clinical trials and ultimately into practice

  • Design new and improved clinical research informatics tools

  • Expand outreach efforts to minority and medically underserved communities

  • Assemble interdisciplinary teams that cover the complete spectrum of research--biology, clinical medicine, dentistry, nursing, biomedical engineering, genomics, and population sciences

  • Forge new partnerships with private and public health care organizations

"The impact of the CTSA consortium will be far greater than the number of awards made," said Barbara M. Alving, M.D., NCRR Acting Director. "We're already seeing transformative changes and new partnerships developing at institutions as they prepare to participate. This consortium will spur innovation, integration, inclusion, and dissemination--not only among institutions receiving these awards--but at all organizations involved in health care throughout the country."

The CTSA initiative grew out of the NIH commitment to re-engineer the clinical research enterprise, one of the key objectives of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. The CTSA consortium will be led by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the NIH. Funding for the CTSA initiative comes from redirecting existing clinical and translational programs, including Roadmap funds. Total first year funding for the awards announced today will be approximately $100 million. When fully implemented in 2012, the initiative is expected to provide a total of $500 million annually to 60 academic health centers.

The following institutions will receive the first set of awards for nearly a five-year period:

  • Columbia University Health Sciences (New York, N.Y.)

  • Duke University (Durham N.C.)

  • Mayo Clinic College of Medicine (Rochester, Minn.)

  • Oregon Health & Science University (Portland, Ore.)

  • Rockefeller University (New York, N.Y.)

  • University of California, Davis (Davis. Calif.)

  • University of California, San Francisco (San Francisco, Calif.)

  • University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pa.)

  • University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

  • University of Rochester (Rochester, N.Y.)

  • University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (Houston, Texas)

  • Yale University (New Haven, Conn.)

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For complete project descriptions, please visit http://www.ncrr.nih.gov/osptemp/ncrrprog/roadmap/CTSA_9-2006X.asp

In addition, the list of planning grant recipients is available at http://www.ncrr.nih.gov/osptemp/ncrrprog/roadmap/CTSA_Planning_9-2006X.asp A second Request for Applications (RFA) for CTSAs has been issued, calling for the next round of submissions to be made by January 17, 2007, with awards expected in fall 2007. The RFA is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-07-002.html.

The CTSA initiative was developed with extensive input from the research community. For more information, visit http://www.ncrr.nih.gov/clinicaldiscipline.asp

About the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research

The NIH Roadmap for Medical Research is a series of far-reaching initiatives designed to transform the Nation's medical research capabilities and speed the movement of scientific discoveries from the bench to the bedside. It provides a framework of the priorities the NIH must address in order to optimize its entire research portfolio and lays out a vision for a more efficient and productive system of medical research. Additional information about the NIH Roadmap can be found at http://nihroadmap.nih.gov.

About NCRR

NCRR provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the environments and tools they need to understand, detect, treat, and prevent a wide range of diseases. With this support, scientists make biomedical discoveries, translate these findings to animal-based studies, and then apply them to patient-oriented research. Ultimately, these advances result in cures and treatments for both common and rare diseases. Through collaborations and networks, NCRR connects researchers with one another, and with patients and communities across the nation. These connections bring together innovative research teams and the power of shared resources, multiplying the opportunities to improve human health. For more information, visit www.ncrr.nih.gov.

About NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) - The Nation's Medical Research Agency - is comprised of 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.


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