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Genomic Tools to Play Role in New NIH Consortium to Improve Clinical Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The National Institutes of Health today said it will reallocate at least $100 million from the Roadmap Initiative to help pay for a new consortium that will bring together 60 institutions that will use genomic and other technologies to improve clinical research.
According to the NIH, the institutions plan to “assemble interdisciplinary teams that cover the complete spectrum of research, [including] biology, clinical medicine, dentistry, nursing, biomedical engineering, genomics, and population sciences; develop better designs for clinical trials to ensure that patients with rare as well as common diseases benefit from new medical therapies; produce enriched environments to educate and develop the next generation of researchers trained in the complexities of translating research discoveries into clinical trials and ultimately into practice; design new and improved clinical research informatics tools; expand outreach efforts to minority and medically underserved communities; [and] forge new partnerships with private and public health care organizations.”
The CTSA will pay for this by redirecting existing clinical and translational programs, including Roadmap funds. Total first-year funding will be around $100 million; when fully implemented in 2012 the initiative is expected to dole out around $500 million a year to 60 academic health centers.
More information can be found here.
The consortium “represents the first systematic change in our approach to clinical research in 50 years," NIH Director Elias Zerhouni said in a statement. "Working together, these sites will serve as discovery engines that will improve medical care by applying new scientific advances to real world practice.
“We expect to see new approaches reach underserved populations, local community organizations, and health care providers to ensure that medical advances are reaching the people who need them,” he added. 
There are currently 12 academic health centers and 52 additional centers receiving planning grants to join the consortium, according to the NIH.
The first set of 5-year awards will go to: Columbia University Health Sciences in New York; Duke University in North Carolina; the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn.; Oregon Health & Science University in Portland; Rockefeller University in New York; the University of California, Davis; the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Pennsylvania; the University of Pittsburgh; the University of Rochester in New York; the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; and Yale University.

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