|Three New Informatics Pilot Projects to
Aid Clinical and Translational Scientists Nationwide
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded three contracts
for pilot projects to improve informatics support for researchers
conducting small- to medium-sized clinical studies. Each of the
two-year contracts, which will total up to an estimated $4 million,
represents a collaboration among individuals at three or more institutions
that receive NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA).
Administered by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR),
one of the CTSA program goals is to advance collaborations in clinical
and translational research by interdisciplinary teams of investigators.
These collaborations help enable the translation of rapidly evolving
information developed in basic biomedical research into treatments
and strategies to improve human health.
Informatics support includes systems that store, process and facilitate
the exchange of information. The pilot projects will be led by
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio; University of
Washington, Seattle; and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
"These projects, which will build on the existing strong
informatics expertise at the institutions, will promote new ways
in which to enable researchers to collaborate and communicate across
the CTSA consortium and with other partners in their research," said
NCRR Director Barbara M. Alving, M.D. "The projects are one
important part of a larger effort to achieve the potential of clinical
and translational science and reduce the time it takes to develop
new treatments for disease."
The Case Western Reserve University project, headed by Susan Redline,
M.D., M.P.H. and G.Q. Zhang, Ph.D., includes investigators from
the Marshfield Clinic, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the
University of Michigan. This team will develop Physio-MIMI, an
informatics infrastructure for collecting, managing and analyzing
diverse data types across institutions. Researchers will be able
to more effectively and efficiently collaborate in national studies
that include many complex data sources and types, such as heart
or brain monitoring data and genomic information. A key component
of the system will allow secure, safe and regulated transfer of
information from clinical care systems and research databases.
The University of Washington project, led by Nicholas Anderson,
Ph.D., will develop a mechanism allowing researchers at three large,
geographically distributed medical centers to easily access large
shared data sets to assist in designing research studies and generating
hypotheses. This team, which includes investigators from the University
of California, Davis, and the University of California, San Francisco,
will extend Harvard University's i2b2 software architecture to
support cross-institution searches. This project will provide model
policies and procedures to advance multi-institutional sharing
of clinical data in support of research.
The Vanderbilt University project, headed by Paul Harris, Ph.D.,
includes investigators from Oregon Health and Sciences University
and Mayo Clinic. This team will extend the capabilities of the
Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) system. REDCap is a software
toolset that provides research teams with an easy workflow to rapidly
develop secure, Web-based applications for collecting, managing
and appropriate sharing of clinical study data. The project's enhancements
will make the system useful to a significantly greater number of
studies and facilitate national and international collaborations.
REDCap currently supports approximately 300 studies across an international
consortium of 31 institutions.
Full project descriptions provided by each lead institution, as
well as a list of project partner institutions, are available at www.ncrr.nih.gov/ctsa/informatics.
Software resulting from these pilot projects will be freely available
to biomedical researchers, educators and institutions in the nonprofit
sector. The terms of availability will permit broad adoption of
the tools and also allow for commercialization of enhanced or customized
The funding for these pilot projects is provided by the NIH Roadmap
for Medical Research/Common Fund.
Booz Allen Hamilton, a strategy and technology consulting firm,
provided facilitation and logistical support for the pilot project
contract awards through a contract with NCRR.
NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards currently support
38 medical research institutions sharing a common vision to reduce
the time it takes for laboratory discoveries to become treatments
for patients, engage communities in clinical research efforts and
train the next generation of clinical researchers. For more information,
.NCRR, a part of NIH, provides laboratory scientists and clinical
researchers with the resources and training they need to understand,
detect, treat and prevent a wide range of diseases. NCRR supports
all aspects of translational and clinical research, connecting researchers,
patients and communities across the nation. For more information,
National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical
Research Agency — includes 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 it investigates
the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.
For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.