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University of Iowa News Release

 

Dec. 8, 2006

Regents To Consider UI Clinical And Translational Science Institute

Leaders from the University of Iowa will ask the Board of Regents, State of Iowa at its Dec. 11 meeting in Iowa City to approve the establishment of a new institute dedicated to greater "bench-to-bedside" research: scientific discoveries that lead to patient-based studies conducted in clinical settings.

The Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (ICTS), which would report to the UI Provost, would serve as the academic structure that manages and fosters such research across the university's various colleges and departments. The institute would enable the UI to expand the quantity and quality of clinical trials involving human subjects and also bolster translational research, which generally refers to the process of developing new clinical trials based on the latest scientific advances, as well as assessing and developing new treatments that enhance patient care.

"This represents a new model for pursuing and conducting federal- and industry-sponsored clinical research," said Gary Hunninghake, M.D., senior associate dean for clinical and translational science in the UI Carver College of Medicine. "This Institute would be the center of a statewide clinical and translational research network that will include community physicians and other health care providers. This means that Iowans across the state would have greater access to new therapies and treatments.

"The NIH (National Institutes of Health) has also placed greater emphasis on this type of research, so it's important that we adapt our academic environment in order to compete for NIH funding opportunities and maintain our strengths in biomedical research and patient care," Hunninghake added.

If the institute is approved, Hunninghake will serve as its director.

Key objectives of the ICTS include:

-- Facilitate new, and integrate existing, training programs in multidisciplinary clinical research, involving faculty and staff members from the UI Colleges of Dentistry, Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, and the Carver College of Medicine;

-- Provide short-term training to scientists interested in clinical and translational science, including community researchers, study coordinators and early-career researchers;

-- Aid in bridging basic and clinical research and bringing discoveries and new treatments to Iowa communities, including partnerships with community-based health care providers to conduct clinical studies;

-- Forge new and strengthen existing partnerships with industry sponsors involved in clinical and translational science.

Currently existing UI centers and institutes that support clinical and translational research, such as the General Clinical Research Center based at UI Hospitals and Clinics, would be incorporated into the new ICTS. Other centers, such as the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UI, would support the ICTS.

As part of its "Roadmap for Medical Research," the NIH has established a consortium of research institutions that will lead efforts to develop new treatments more efficiently and quickly to patients. Last October, the NIH announced Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) totaling approximately $100 million to 12 academic medical centers across the nation, with planning grants awarded to other institutions to help them prepare applications to join the consortium. When fully implemented by 2012, the initiative is expected to provide a total of $500 million annually to 60 academic medical centers that are part of the consortium. A second round of CTSA recipients will be announced in fall 2007.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5143 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT: Steve Maravetz, 319-335-8033, steven-maravetz@uiowa.edu