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NIH Record  
Vol. LXIV, No. 10
  May 11, 2012
Brust Discusses Neuroscience of Musical Literacy
Broadening Access to Vaccines Is Focus of LaMontagne Lecture, May 22
Journalist Friedman To Give Rall Cultural Lecture, May 24
Program Will Bring Top Early-Career Scientists from Quebec
Richardson To Discuss Evidence-Based Medicine, May 17
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NCATS To Expand Researcher Access to Industry Molecular Compounds
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Therapeutic development is a costly, complex and time-consuming process. In recent years, researchers have succeeded in identifying the causes of more than 4,500 diseases. But it has proven difficult to turn such knowledge into new therapies; effective treatments exist for only about 250 of these conditions.

To help combat the challenges, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and NIH director Dr. Francis Collins recently unveiled an NIH collaborative program that will match researchers with a selection of pharmaceutical industry molecular compounds to help scientists explore new treatments for patients. NIH’s new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences has partnered initially with Pfizer Inc., AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly and Co., which have agreed to make more than 20 of their compounds available for this initiative.“

This initiative is an investment not only in our researchers, but also in our nation,” said Sebelius. “When American scientists have the tools and resources to pursue the next great discovery, we all benefit. This makes our nation stronger, healthier and more competitive.”

‘Pressure To Get It Right’
Biases Rife in Research, Ioannidis Says
Dr. John Ioannidis

Dr. John Ioannidis

Don’t believe everything you read—whether the too-good-to-be-true promises of an ad in the back of a magazine or the research published in a highly respected journal.
“Most statistically significant findings are not real at all,” said Dr. John Ioannidis, director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center. “They’re just false positives.”

In a recent seminar sponsored by the Office of Disease Prevention, NHLBI, NIAAA and NCI, Ioannidis discussed the biases in published biomedical research and suggested several potential solutions to the problem.

Many of these false positives are revealed when larger-scale studies attempt to replicate the findings of smaller studies. This is true even for the gold standard of biomedical research, the randomized, controlled trial, said Ioannidis. One of every four such trials is refuted when a larger trial is conducted, he has found.