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National Center for
Research Resources (NCRR)

Embargoed for Release
Thursday, May 29, 2008
11:00 a.m. EDT


Joyce McDonald

NIH Expands National Consortium Dedicated to Transforming Clinical and Translational Research
Fourteen Institutions Will Receive $533 Million Over 5 Years to Help Researchers Turn Laboratory Discoveries into Treatments for Patients

Fourteen academic health centers in 11 states are the latest members of the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) consortium. Creating a unique network of medical research institutions across the nation, the consortium is working to reduce the time it takes for laboratory discoveries to become treatments for patients and to engage communities in clinical research efforts. It also is fulfilling the critical need to train the next generation of clinical and translational researchers. The consortium is led by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the NIH.

"With more than half of NIH's funding allocated for basic research, the CTSA consortium is perfectly poised to help move discoveries in the laboratory to improved patient care. The consortium serves as the bridge in this process that allows researchers to perfect and refine existing treatments through interdisciplinary teams that extend to the clinic and community," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "Through the consortium, we are better able to leverage expertise and resources across the CTSA institutions, and ultimately maximize NIH’s investment in basic research, which should remain a top priority."

The institutions receiving new CTSA funding include (view descriptions of the CTSA awardees at www.ncrr.nih.gov/ctsa2008):

    Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University (New York City)
    Boston University (Boston)
    Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.)
    Indiana University School of Medicine (Indianapolis)
    Northwestern University (Chicago and Evanston, Ill.)
    The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio)
    The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, Calif.)
    Stanford University (Palo Alto, Calif.)
    Tufts University (Boston)
    The University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham, Ala.)
    University of Colorado Denver (Aurora, Colo.)
    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
    The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (San Antonio)
    The University of Utah (Salt Lake City)

These 14 academic health centers join 24 others announced in 2006 and 2007. Total funding for these new awards is $533 million over five years. The 2008 CTSA grants expand state representation in the consortium to Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Utah. They also support pediatric research at 13 dedicated children's hospitals; expand research in genetics and genomics; enhance research in behavioral immunology and infection risk; and increase outreach into local communities.

"As the CTSA consortium expands across the nation, the NIH is elevating clinical and translational research from a single research enterprise to a network of exceptional collaborations that will translate new knowledge into tangible benefits for the American people by bringing together diverse perspectives and expertise leading to new prevention strategies and clinical treatments," said NCRR Director Barbara M. Alving, M.D.

Since its launch in 2006, the consortium has been:

  • training researchers in the complexities of clinical and translational research through nationally recognized degree-granting programs;
  • leveraging CTSA resources to expand research and training opportunities in underserved states and communities;
  • assembling interdisciplinary teams that include but are not limited to basic scientists, biologists, clinical researchers, dentists, veterinarians, nurses, pharmacists, biomedical engineers, and geneticists;
  • partnering with researchers at minority institutions to enhance outreach to underserved populations, local community and advocacy organizations, and health care providers;
  • creating best practices to improve clinical research informatics tools to analyze research data and manage clinical trials;
  • designating technologies for marketing and licensing purposes that will increase global access to research tools; and
  • forging new partnerships with private and public health care organizations, including pharmaceutical companies, the Veterans Administration hospitals, health maintenance organizations, as well as state health agencies.

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. Most of the funding will come from terminating grants to General Clinical Research Centers, supplemented by NIH Roadmap funds. In 2012, when the program is fully implemented, approximately 60 CTSAs will be connected with an annual budget of $500 million.

A fourth funding opportunity announcement for CTSAs is available, calling for the next round of applications to be submitted by June 17, 2008, with the awards expected in March 2009. More information about this funding announcement can be found at www.ncrr.nih.gov/crfunding. For more information about the CTSA program, visit www.ncrr.nih.gov/crctsa.

The CTSA consortium Web site which provides information on the current members and the new grantees can be accessed at CTSAweb.org.

NCRR provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the resources and training they need to understand, detect, treat, and prevent a wide range of diseases. Through the CTSA consortium and other collaborations, NCRR supports all aspects of translational and clinical research, connecting researchers with one another and with patients and communities across the nation. For more information, visit www.ncrr.nih.gov.

The 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.

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