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, “ Zerhouni added.
The institutions receiving new CTSA funding include:
• 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.
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.