Weill Cornell Medical College has received $49.6 million from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to fund its Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC). This Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) is a 5-year renewal of the largest Federal grant ever awarded to the Medical College by the NIH. In 2007, the first CTSA grant award supported the establishment of Weill Cornell’s CTSC, a multi-institutional consortium in New York City with the goal of accelerating new patient preventive interventions and treatments through translational research.
“The Weill Cornell Clinical and Translational Science Center has made terrific progress in breaking down barriers to translational research and laying the foundations for future cooperation, not only with other academic institutions, but also with the private sector,” says Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. “As with any effort that seeks to break new ground, there are great challenges and equally great rewards, but the renewed CTSA grant affirms that we are transforming the way medical research is conducted.”
Today, the CTSC, led by Weill Cornell Medical College and Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, is an innovative multi-institutional consortium, committed to breaking down institutional silos and barriers separating scientific disciplines to accelerate the clinical application of basic science discoveries. The Center, based at Weill Cornell, consists of a unique multidisciplinary biomedical research network, encompassing Weill Cornell Medical College, Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC); Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS); Cornell University, Ithaca including Cornell University Cooperative Extension, New York City (CUCE-NYC); Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY) with its School of Nursing, School of Public Health and Center for the Study of Gene Structure and Function; and the Animal Medical Center.
“We are thrilled,” says Dr. Julianne Imperato-McGinley, the CTSC’s principal investigator and program director at Weill Cornell. “This renewal grant represents an important acknowledgement of the progress we’ve made in strengthening collaborative relationships between leading research institutions in New York City, nurturing the next generation of translational researchers and building an infrastructure to support further medical innovation.”
An accomplished clinical and translational researcher with more than 25 years of NIH funding, Dr. Imperato-McGinley is also the associate dean for translational research and education at Weill Cornell. In addition, Dr. Imperato-McGinley serves as The Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Distinguished Professor of Endocrinology in Medicine and professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell, and attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
“Thanks to our ongoing efforts, the CTSC provides a broad array of services to a diverse constituency, ranging from support for researchers with biostatistics and biomedical informatics, to patient resources and community engagement, to funding for promising new research areas,” says Dr. Imperato-McGinley. “Also, the near-completion of Weill Cornell’s new Belfer Research Building will double the Medical College’s existing research laboratory space, accelerating the translation of more research findings from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside.”
The renewed CTSA grant award to Weill Cornell will create opportunities for the CTSC to build upon the accomplishments of the initial funding period. Examples of CTSC program accomplishments include the successful multi-institutional “Heart to Heart” campaign that provides free screenings and physician consultations for cardiovascular disease and diabetes to the underserved communities in NYC; expanded high-quality mental health education and support for New York National Guard bases in remote locations using sophisticated video conferencing technology; and significant funding support for research studies involving smokers and chronic lung disease.
The CTSC will continue to focus on advancing translational science discoveries in the full range of clinical areas such as cancer, diabetes, AIDS, cardiovascular disease, women’s health, reproductive medicine, geriatrics, psychiatry, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, obesity, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular disorders, trauma and burns. An extensive community outreach program will continue to be an important component of the CTSC. Furthermore, the renewed funding will expand and enrich programs in drug discovery, education and mentoring; increase research resources; and enhance health care to underserved communities of New York City.
Clinical Translational Science Awards are transforming how clinical and translational research is conducted. The CTSA initiative grew out of the NIH’s commitment to re-engineer the clinical research enterprise, one of the key objectives of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. The CTSC at Weill Cornell provides an environment for optimal use of the multi-institutional assets and the diversity of the Center’s patient population to move translational research seamlessly from bench to bedside and to the community. The CTSC acts as a conduit through which essential resources, technological tools and education programs for all partners can be efficiently shared and managed. The Center funds promising new areas of research, especially collaboration between multiple disciplines. In addition, the CTSC is committed to training the next generation of clinical and translational scientists through pre- and post-doctoral training awards. The Center facilitates research at all levels by providing direct funding and also information on external funding opportunities.
The NIH’s CTSA grants are directed by National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Division of Clinical Innovation. Launched in 2011, NCATS supports approximately 60 medical research institutions in 30 states that work together to improve the way clinical and translational research is conducted nationwide to enhance its efficiency and quality. Its goals are to accelerate the process of translating laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, to engage communities in clinical research efforts and to train a new generation of clinical and translational researchers.
For more information about Weill Cornell’s Clinical and Translational Science Center, visit weill.cornell.edu/ctsc/.