Announcing CTSA funding from NIH to KUMC

We're proud of our role in this week's announcement:

KUMC receives $20 million Clinical and Translational Science Award

June 14, 2011

Kansas City, Kan. — Patients will gain faster access to the benefits of health research throughout the region thanks to a grant announced today.

The University of Kansas Medical Center has received a $19,794,046 Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The five-year grant puts the medical center among an elite, 60-member group of universities collaborating on clinical and translational research, which transforms laboratory discoveries into treatments and cures.

Launched by the NIH in 2006, the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program goals are to speed laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, to work with communities in clinical research efforts, and to train a new generation of researchers to bring cures and treatments to patients faster. With its new grant, KU Medical Center will create a program called Frontiers, greatly expanding the reach of its existing Heartland Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, which has been the center of clinical and translational research for Kansas and the greater Kansas City region.

Scientists at KU have been doing translational research for years. For example, clinical trials are now being held for an ovarian cancer drug that KU researchers have reformulated so that it can be delivered in a patient's abdomen instead of intravenously, which caused negative side effects. Other scientists have discovered that DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid common in fish oil, may help infants develop better attention skills. In part, as a result of this research, DHA is now added to many infant formulas. Other researchers are studying whether exercise can slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

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In fact, a big part of what's new about translational research at KUMC this year is our very own biomedical informatics division:

Biomedical Informatics accelerates scientific discovery and improves patient care by converting data into actionable information. Pharmacologists and biologists use informatics to understand how drugs and cells interact at a molecular level; scientists use software to determine what kind of patients may most benefit from a clinical trial; doctors view risk models to help individualize therapies for patients.

The specific aims from our section of the grant are:

  1. Provide a HICTR portal for investigators to access clinical and translation research resources, track usage and outcomes, and provide informatics consultation services.
  2. Create a platform, HERON (Healthcare Enterprise Repository for Ontological Narration), to integrate clinical and biomedical data for translational research.
  3. Advance medical innovation by linking biological tissues to clinical phenotype an pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data generated by research in phase I and II clinical trials (address T1 translational research).
  4. Leverage an active, engaged statewide telemedicine and Health Information Exchange (HIE) to enable community based translational research (Addressing T2 translational research).

Presentation materials from Dr. Waitman's talk from last September, Developing Clinical and Translational Informatics Capabilities for Kansas University go into more detail on those aims.

The focus of our development work for the past year or so has been on the HERON data repository, but starting with milestone:RavenCTSA, the plan is to broaden the portal from just informatics tools for use within KUMC to a variety of tools for investigators in our community.

Want to join the fun? We're hiring.

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