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SCTS Connection June 2011

Issue 6, 2011
In This Issue

SCTS Welcomes New CTSAs

Washington Update


Meeting Summaries

Annual Meeting News

Events of Interest
























































Lt. General C. Bruce Green, USAF Surgeon General

Lt. Gen. C. Bruce Green

SCTS Welcomes New CTSAs

On June 14, 2011, Dr. Francis Collins, NIH Director, announced that five new institutions received Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs). The new CTSA sites are:

The addition of these five centers increases the number of CTSAs to 60, the planned complement of centers, and extends the CTSA network to 30 states and the District of Columbia. SCTS congratulates the new centers for their success!

Washington Update

Dale P. Dirks, SCTS Washington Representative

This year’s negotiation on funding for agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) promises to be difficult. The House of Representatives has issued a budget resolution that calls for major reductions in domestic spending, while the Senate is mired in broader federal deficit discussions with the White House that have yet to yield substantial results or prospects for advancing. This, combined with the dynamics of the upcoming 2012 election season, has policy-makers moving very cautiously. #

Although the House is likely to consider a FY 2012 appropriations bill in July that substantially reduces spending for NIH and other health agencies, ultimately, these reductions are not expected to advance with the Senate or the President—making for another protracted debate that could last until early next year.

Researchers and clinicians face an unprecedented time in which the budgetary challenges are great, yet the opportunities for discovery and progress have never been more promising. It is critical to remain engaged in this national discussion about priorities.

Agency Activities
NIH continues to prepare for the October 2011 establishment of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). The NIH director is implementing the NCATS administrative functions and will include the transfer of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program from its existing home at the National Center for Research Resources. During the April scientific meeting, leaders of the organizations met with NIH Director Francis Collins to urge that the CTSA program be fully funded and maintain its focus.

PCORI Director Named

The healthcare reform legislation created the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). PCORI is an independent agency created to help patients, clinicians, researchers, and policy-makers make better informed health decisions. PCORI will commission research that is "responsive to the values and interests of patients and will provide patients and caregivers with reliable, evidence-based information for the healthcare choices they face.” In an otherwise frugal budget environment, the establishment of PCORI—and the accompanying new resources it brings to the table—is a refreshing opportunity for patient-centered research funding. Joe Selby, MD, PhD, was named PCORI Executive Director on May 16, 2011.Dr. Selby comes to PCORI from Kaiser Permanente, where he was the director of the division of research for more than 13 years.

NIH Announcement on the Future Biomedical Research Workforce

In April, the NIH announced the establishment of a working group on the future biomedical research workforce. The group will recommend actions to the Advisory Committee to the NIH director to ensure a diverse and sustainable biomedical and behavioral research workforce. Although the advisory committee includes many prestigious members, no one with specific expertise in Translational Science is on the panel. It is essential that organizations interested in the deliberations of the working group contact members and provide input during the process.

Translational Research News Briefs

Several recent articles feature leaders in the field of translational research and reflect their concerns about funding and success rate.

The Wall Street Journal reports comments by former NIH director Elias Zerhouni on the difficulty translational research from his new perspective as President of R&D at Sanofi.

An article in The Wall Street Journal cites concerns from former Merck CEO Roy Vagelos that NCATS is not the best use of NIH resources.

Meeting Summaries

Symposium Reveals Opportunities and Obstacles for Basic Scientists in Translational Research
On March 25 – 25, 2011, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) hosted a meeting to evaluate the opportunities and barriers for participation of basic scientists in translational research. The meeting included 250 thought leaders in the field as participants and speakers.

SCTS leaders, including Rebecca C. Jackson, MD, Principal Investigator at The Ohio State Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and Lee Nadler, MD, Principal Investigator of the Harvard Catalyst: The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center, spoke at the meeting, and a number of the SCTS membership participated. View meeting details online, including videos of some presentations.

SCTS Leaders Contribute to NIH Meetings on Pain Research
Two meetings at the National Institutes of Health brought together pain researchers and CTSA leaders to review the state of the art in pain research and translation through CTSAs. SCTS leaders and members assisted in organization, including Kathleen Brady MD, from the Medical University of South Carolina, Curtis Lowery from the University of Arkansas, and Anantha Shekhar from Indiana University.

The first meeting, held on April 14, was sponsored by the NIH Pain Consortium and included reports from a number of basic and clinical researchers updating the latest findings in pain research.

The following day, a second meeting entitled Collaborating with CTSAs to Advance Pain Research explored obstacles in the clinical translation of pain research, including need for additional infrastructure. This meeting was organized by the CTSA Thematic Special Interest Group on Pain, and was integrated in a recent NIH Request for Information on NIH CTSA Neuroscience Research sponsored by NCRR, the National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research.

Air Force Medical Services (AFMS) CTSA Collaboration Workshop
The U.S. Air Force Medical Service (AFMS) organized an Opportunities in Translational Science Research workshop at the NIH in May. The Department of Defense has long been a leader in development of integrated databases based on electronic medical records.

Lieutenant General (Dr.) C. Bruce Green, Surgeon General of the Air Force, opened the meeting with a presentation on Air Force initiatives on patient-centered care to provide the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. Outcomes analyses and predictive pharmacogenomics are essential to this effort. The Air Force has already been collaborating with Johns Hopkins University and Duke University, two SCTS member CTSAs, on such studies, and is extremely interested involving additional CTSAs with interests and expertise in the areas.

Annual Meeting News

Poster Sessions
At the April 2011 Clinical and Translational Research and Education Meeting held in Washington, DC, more than 200 trainees presented their studies to each other and to senior investigators in two poster sessions. The breadth of research topics was extraordinary, covering the entire spectrum from bench-to-bedside-to-community-to-curbside, and back again. The range of diseases was equally broad, as was the creative approach taken to address the important health needs. The buzz in the poster hall reflected the intense engagement of the trainees in describing their research and incorporating the advice and suggestions they received from the other participants.

Visit the SCTS Facebook page to view photos taken at the 2011 Clinical and Translational Research and Education Meeting poster sessions. While you visit, be sure to "like” us and stay connected with SCTS updates.

Advocacy Training
During the 2011 Clinical and Translational Research and Educational Meeting, SCTS members received advocacy instruction and met with the offices of federal legislators to discuss the importance of funding for research and training activities supported by NIH, AHRQ and other agencies. Members highlighted the importance of:

  • Overall funding for NIH and AHRQ
  • Continued strong focus on the K-Award mechanisms
  • Support for the CTSA program; and
  • Funding for NIH’s Cures Acceleration Network

This effort, combined with the ongoing advocacy activities supported by the Joint Advocacy Coalition organizations, serves as an important voice to Washington decision-makers as they consider how to allocate limited federal resources.

Events of Interest

June 20-21, 2011
Improvements that Work: How to Create Efficiency in Clinical Research Management

Bethesda, MD

June 21-22, 2011
3rd Annual Short Course on Comparative Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness: Methods and Measurement

Boston, MA

April 18-20, 2012
Translational Science 2012

Washington, DC

If you are aware of additional events that would be of interest to SCTS members, please forward information to


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