|Clinical Center director Dr. John Gallin welcomes CTSA scholars (from l) Dr. Natalia Morone from the University of Pittsburgh; Tsvetelina Parvanova from the Mayo Clinic; Dr. George Tseng from the University of Pittsburgh; Dr. Andrew Chang from Montefiore Medical Center; and Dr. Thomas Clark Gamblin from the University of Pittsburgh.
The Clinical Center is anxious to embrace new Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) partnerships. That’s the message 18 CTSA scholars and program administrators heard from CC director Dr. John Gallin during a recent visit.
They represented Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rockefeller University, University of Pittsburgh and Washington University, six of the 24 academic health centers that are part of a national consortium aimed at transforming how clinical and translational research is conducted
at academic health centers across the country. When CTSA is fully implemented in 2012, 60 institutions will be linked together to energize the discipline of clinical and translational
Gallin told the visitors that new CC-CTSA partnerships would complement and enrich research that is done intramurally and extramurally.
Nearly 1,500 clinical studies are currently
being conducted at the CC, with about half involving rare diseases. These special cohorts of patients provide unique opportunities for partnerships
with the extramural community. “Our hope is that partnerships among intramural and extramural investigators will enrich both investigators’ research programs,” he said.
A major opportunity for collaborations is the Bench-to-Bedside program created by the CC in 1999 to speed translation of promising laboratory
discoveries into new medical treatments by encouraging collaborations among basic scientists and clinical investigators. The program has been open to research teams made up of intramural and extramural partners since 2006.
Informatics tools developed at the CC also offer specialized resources in support of clinical research. One is ProtoType, a web-based clinical protocol writing tool that provides investigators with a standard protocol structure, online help and templates of suggested language. Investigators
use it to put ideas for new protocols into the proper format to satisfy regulations and facilitate
Gallin also shared with the group the vision for BTRIS—the Biomedical Translational Research Information System now in development. Investigators
can use it to help identify promising new avenues for research and foster data-sharing across NIH institutes and with extramural collaborators.
“We’re building this data repository so that it will be compatible with the CTSA sites’ repositories. We envision that one day we will have a national clinical research data repository,” Gallin said.
Gallin encouraged the visitors to consider participating
in clinical research training opportunities at the CC, many with options for participation both at NIH and at other locations via teleconference
or using lectures on DVD.
|Alex Razzook (r), a project engineer in the CC rehabilitation medicine department’s physical disabilities branch, gives the CTSA scholars an overview of the clinical movement analysis lab.
“The opportunity to tour the CC and meet outstanding
leaders in the research community provided considerable excitement for each of the clinical research scholars,” said Joan Lakoski,
associate vice chancellor for academic career development at the University of Pittsburgh and CTSA program committee chair. “They identified important new resources at the NIH for support of their respective innovative multidisciplinary clinical research programs.”