Five years ago the federal government decided that private biomedical research companies were not bringing enough new technology to patients in need, and that it would step up that process by having the NIH fund research at academic medical institutions to bridge the gap between basic science and practical treatment. Thus the CTSA was born: the Clinical & Translational Science Awards program, a research consortium supporting the translation of science into medicine by accelerating laboratory discoveries.
(Image courtesy of NIH)
Finding a pharmaceutical or medical supply company to purchase, manufacture, market and distribute a proven new medicine or technology requires some business savvy, but not a miracle or an investment angel. It’s the discovery, refinement and testing of that drug, procedure or device that can limit its development into market product. Until it’s proven, all investments are risky. Private industry used to assume this R&D risk as a part of their overall business plan, but that model has shifted and they are less ready to bank on a new medical technology without a strong promise of success from the outset. The NIH, by taking on some of the translational risk for the common good, is assuring that new science will become new treatments.
Another reason government funding is taking up where private investment falls short is that there have been so many promising breakthroughs in the past decade. At a time when biomedical research is literally seeing an exponential growth of curative possibilities, the public funding of translational science responds to a real sense of urgency. Every day the news from the field is that we are so close to treating the most devastating diseases once and for all that not to try and accelerate that treatment’s availability would almost seem to constitute neglect.
With this latest announcement by the NIH, the CTSA will now be funding 5 more universities with $200 million in grants over 5 years (which translates to $8 million a year on average per institution). The five new additions to the CTSA program are:
- University of California, Los Angeles: UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute, led by Dr. Steven M. Dubinett
- University of Minnesota, Twin Cities: University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute, led by Dr. Bruce R. Blazar
- Penn State University, Hershey: Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute, led by Dr. Lawrence I. Sinoway
- University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City: Heartland Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, led by Drs. Richard J. Barohn and Lauren S. Aaronson
- University of Kentucky, Lexington: UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science, led by Dr. Philip A. Kern
Kansas and Kentucky make a total of 30 states in the CTSA program and 83 institutions nationally.
If you are a medical researcher or other laboratory scientist, or a supplier of life science equipment, plan on attending one of Biotechnology Calendar Inc.'s premier life science tradeshows, held on medical research campuses across the United States for the past 18 years. The next UCLA Biotechnology Vendor Showcase™on October 6 is one of our largest events, and the Minneapolis/Twin Cities BioResearch Product Faire™ show (on July 28, 2011) always has a strong turnout of vendors and research scientists as well. For more UCLA and Minneapolis show and funding information, click the buttons below.