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NIH Awards $200M for New CTSA Sites

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health said today that it has awarded nearly $200 million to be spread over five years to five new Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) winners including Pennsylvania State University; the University of California, Los Angeles; University of Kansas Medical Center; the University of Kentucky; and the University of Minnesota.

The CTSA program, which is run by the National Center for Research Resources, funds research and resources that boost the efficacy and quality of clinical and translational research.

"The CTSAs support the innovation and partnerships necessary to bridge the traditional divides between basic research and medical practice," NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement Tuesday. "The combination of resources and collaboration made possible by these awards is essential for developing and delivering new treatments and prevention strategies."

UCLA said yesterday that it will use its $81.3 million grant to work with other partners, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, and the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute. The school also said that concurrent with the grant it plans to open a new 23,000 square-foot UCLA Clinical and Translational Research Center for outpatient research studies, which will include a biomarkers research lab.

The UCLA-led partners already host a range of research resources, including a genomics core at Cedars-Sinai as well as molecular and micro-imaging and biostatistics and lab services cores, among others.

The University of Minnesota plans to use its $51 million grant to "exponentially expand our capacity and push new discoveries forward faster," Bruce Blazar, leader of the CTSA program at U of M, said in a statement. "Ultimately, this award is about three things: working with our community to identify research needs, capitalizing on the most promising research, and putting findings into practice to improve the health of our patients and communities."

It also will tie together research already happening in several focus areas including cancer, cardiology, diabetes, infectious diseases, and brain sciences, added Aaron Friedman, VP for Health Sciences and dean of the U of M Medical School.

Penn State reeled in a $27.3 million grant that it plans to use to support its Clinical and Translational Science Institute — a collaboration with several university, industry, and community partners including the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences and Hershey Medical Center.

The grants also will expand the school's research infrastructure, including the Bioinformatics Core Group, which provides services and expertise for researchers who are analyzing large data sets.

The University of Kentucky won a $20 million grant, which will support research at its Center for Clinical and Translational Science. UK also is part of a network that includes Marshall University, CTSAs at the Ohio State University, and other universities.

"Marshall has significant strength in cancer and gene sequencing and there is considerable potential for research synergy with UK's Markey Cancer Center," Philip Kern, associate provost for clinical and translational science for UK, said in a statement. "Overall, our goal is to promote and encourage interdisciplinary research that leads to creative new ideas and speeds the translation of scientific discoveries to health improvements for people in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Appalachian region, and throughout the nation."

The University of Kansas Medical Center was awarded a CTSA grant totaling $19.8 million.