News Release

Monday, September 12, 2011

NIH Clinical Center receives 2011 Lasker~Bloomberg Award for public service

The NIH Clinical Center, the clinical research hospital at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., is the 2011 recipient of the Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award. The award will be presented in ceremonies on Sept. 23 by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, which has recognized outstanding advances in medical research each year since 1945, in New York City. The award honors the Clinical Center for serving as a model institution that has transformed scientific advances into innovative therapies and provided high-quality care to patients.

The award recognizes the Clinical Center's rich history of medical discovery through clinical research since it opened in 1953. Over the decades, nearly half a million volunteers have participated in clinical research at the Clinical Center. Its mission has remained providing exceptional clinical care for research volunteers, an environment for innovative bench-to-bedside clinical research, and training for clinical researchers.

"The Clinical Center, the world's largest clinical research hospital, exists to help scientists who are clinicians rapidly translate promising discoveries in the laboratory into new and better ways to treat and prevent disease," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "The Clinical Center's 58-year research portfolio has resulted in remarkable medical advances."

Those medical milestones include development of chemotherapy for cancer; the first use of an immunotoxin to treat a malignancy (hairy cell leukemia); identification of the genes that cause kidney cancer, leading to the development of six new, targeted treatments for advanced kidney cancer; the demonstration that lithium helps depression; the first gene therapy; the first treatment of AIDS (with AZT); and the development of tests to detect AIDS/HIV and hepatitis viruses in blood, which led to a safer blood supply.

"The Clinical Center's work has always depended on patients and healthy individuals from around the world who volunteer for clinical research here," said John I. Gallin, M.D., director of the NIH Clinical Center. "Our patients include those with rare diseases, common disorders, and undiagnosed conditions. There are about 1,500 clinical research studies under way today and the patients and healthy volunteers who participate in them are true partners in research."

Advancements through clinical research also depend on having a cadre of investigators trained to do it, Gallin added. "Students in the health sciences and clinicians come here to learn how to conduct clinical research by working closely with NIH investigators. Since 1995, more than 22,000 students around the world have participated in the Clinical Center's clinical research training curriculum offered through distance-learning programs."

The original hospital, the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center, opened in 1953. A new research hospital, the 240-bed Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center, opened in 2004. Most of NIH's 27 institutes and centers conduct clinical research at Clinical Center through their programs on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md. NIH plans to open the facility for use by external researchers, based on the 2010 recommendations from the Scientific Management Review Board, established under the NIH Reform Act of 2006, which will allow the Clinical Center to facilitate clinical research on a broader scale.

About the NIH Clinical Center: The NIH Clinical Center is the 240-bed clinical research hospital for the National Institutes of Health. Through clinical research, clinician-investigators translate laboratory discoveries into better treatments, therapies, and interventions to improve the nation's health. For more information, visit

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): 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. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®