News Release

Thursday, June 8, 2006

NIH Expands Initiative to Encourage Bench-to-Bedside Research

The National Institutes of Health has awarded nearly $4 million to fund 19 bench-to-bedside medical research projects designed to speed translation of promising laboratory discoveries into new medical treatments.

For the first time, applications for these awards, first given in 1999, were open to research teams made up of NIH intramural and extramural collaborators from medical schools, health-care organizations and private industry. All but one of the funded projects include extramural partners; nine of the 19 projects involve researchers from two or more NIH institutes or centers.

“The new bench-to-bedside awards program is a good example of NIH’s commitment to transforming medicine through discovery,” said Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., NIH Director “It encourages innovative partnerships between extramural and intramural researchers and opens new opportunities for advancing medical science.”

The bench-to-bedside research program was created within the NIH Clinical Center, NIH’s clinical research hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, as a way to encourage collaborations among basic scientists in the laboratories and clinical investigators who work with patients, said John I. Gallin, M.D., NIH Clinical Center Director. “Historically a hallmark of this program has been support for projects that involve partnerships between basic and clinical scientists from across institutes at NIH. The new component started this year profoundly expands the partnerships in medical research to government and non-government scientists.”

This year, awards were made in four categories funded by the NIH Office of Rare Diseases; the NIH Office of AIDS Research; the National Center on Minority Health and Health disparities; and the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health. A fifth category is co-funded by sponsoring institutes and, for the projects’ extramural components, the NIH National Center for Research Resources. Project teams receive up to $200,000 over two years to support their work.

This is the first year projects in minority health and health disparities and women’s health have been specifically funded. Quality of the science, promise for becoming an active clinical trial, and potential for offering a new medical treatment or better understanding an important disease process were among selection criteria.

Eight teams received funding for investigations focusing on rare diseases: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH Clinical Center, Harvard University, Georgetown University Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center; NHLBI, NIH Clinical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center; NHLBI and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, with associate investigators from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the Medical College of Virginia; National Cancer Institute and NHLBI, with associate investigators from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; NCI, with associate investigators from the University of Southern California, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the University of Washington and Mayo Clinic College of Medicine; NIH Clinical Center, NCI, University of Toronto/Ontario Cancer Institute, with associate investigators from the University of Illinois; NIDDK, NHLBI, and the University of Maryland; and NHLBI, NIH Clinical Center, with associate investigators from NCI, NIDDK and Drexel University.

Four teams will conduct AIDS-related studies: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and St. Michael’s Medical Center; NCI, NIAID and Johns Hopkins University; NIH Clinical Center, NCI, San Francisco General Hospital and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC-Frederick), with associate investigators from Mulago Hospital, Makerere University, in Uganda; and NIDDK and the Children’s National Medical Center.

The work of four teams target minority health and health disparities: NIH Clinical Center and NHLBI; National Institute on Drug Abuse and University of Pennsylvania; National Human Genome Research Institute and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIDDK and the University of Wisconsin.

A team from NIDDK and Oregon State University will conduct research related to women’s health.

The NIH National Center for Research Resources is co-funder for two projects, one conducted by NIDDK and Washington Hospital Center and another involving the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania.

More information on these projects is online,

The NIH Clinical Center is the clinical research hospital of the National Institutes of Health. Through clinical research, physicians and scientists 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

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