Mind to Market

Friday, January 25, 2008

Translational Research in Colorado

The Colorado BioScience Association kicked off the first BioBreakfast of the year at the new Education 1 building on the Anschutz Medical Campus featuring University of Colorado's new Vice Chancellor for Research, Dr. Richard Traystman. Dr. Traystman together with Dr. Ronald Sokol of The Children's Hospital, presented CU's bid for a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) grant.

The CTSA grant is part of the National Institutes of Health's Roadmap for Medical Research, a program spearheaded by NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni in response to the rapidly depleting drug pipelines of the nation's pharmaceutical companies. The "T" in CTSA stands for Translational; the concept of bringing a drug from the laboratory bench to the patient's bedside. In other words: applying biomedical research to finding new therapies.

Now we all assume that biomedical research is a good thing and that it's where all of our new therapies will come from, but the reality is that even as the NIH's budget doubled from 1993 to 2004 the pharmaceutical pipelines were thinning. We found out that there is no correlation between spending on basic research and new treatments being brought to market.

The CTSA program represents one of the ways the NIH is seeking to address this issue by becoming more proactive in generating therapeutic results instead of journal articles. The General Clinical Research Center grants are being phased out in favor of the new program, compelling current GCRC recipients, such as CU, to retool and apply for the new program.

Final decisions on the application will be received in May. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

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