UCLA, in partnership with Cedars–Sinai Medical Center, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, and the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor–UCLA Medical Center, has received a five-year Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) of $81.3 million from the National Institutes of Health.
UCLA now joins a prestigious consortium of institutions established by the NIH to enhance biomedical research by accelerating the translation of laboratory discoveries into effective treatments for patients, more actively engaging communities in clinical research and training future generations of researchers to think and work in this bench-to-bedside continuum.
UCLA's Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is designed to focus on those conditions that account for the greatest proportion of disability and early death in Los Angeles County, the most populous and demographically diverse county in the nation. Rates of premature death and disability related to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, AIDS, depression, violence and other preventable conditions in the county far exceed national averages. The disease burden is magnified by language barriers, cultural beliefs, poverty and access to care.
"The NIH's investment in Los Angeles County will enable UCLA and its partners to more effectively pursue our transformative mission — to improve the health status of Los Angeles in a measurable way and enhance the quality of life for a significant number of our fellow Angelenos," said Dr. A. Eugene Washington, UCLA vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "California, and Los Angeles in particular, has always been a trendsetter. So as the rest of the U.S. population undergoes dramatic change, the experiences and successes of our CTSI programs will offer a model for health improvement nationwide."
"Our overarching goal is to create a borderless clinical and translational research institute that brings UCLA CTSI innovations and resources to bear on the greatest health needs of Los Angeles," said Dr. Steven M. Dubinett, director of the CTSI and UCLA associate vice chancellor for translational science. "The CTSA award will help us develop new ways to retain, recruit and empower scientists to work together across disciplines, departments, institutions and geography."
"This award will provide vital support for our translational research programs that focus on advancing scientific discoveries to directly benefit our patients and the community," said Dr. Shlomo Melmed, senior vice president of academic affairs and dean of the medical faculty at Cedars–Sinai and holder of the Helene A. and Philip E. Hixson Chair in Investigative Medicine. "As the largest academic medical center in California, Cedars–Sinai is pleased to participate in this multidisciplinary effort."
"This new grant will not only expand the depth of the partnership between UCLA, Cedars, Harbor–UCLA and CDU but will help build the capacity of communities to improve health and fundamentally change how researchers work with the community to create new approaches to improving health," said Dr. Keith Norris, executive vice president of research and health affairs at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.
"With this grant, vital research will continue to flourish in Los Angeles and bring new therapies and cures more rapidly and safely to patients," said David Meyer, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor–UCLA Medical Center. "For more than four decades, LA BioMed's General Clinical Research Center has been a keystone of the region's pioneering research into cancer, infectious diseases, male reproductive health and much more. The UCLA CTSI's funding will ensure the continuation of these essential studies, while also expanding and accelerating the process of taking discoveries from the lab and making them available to patients."
To accomplish its mission of accelerating scientific discoveries and clinical breakthroughs to improve health in Los Angeles, the UCLA CTSI has set out five goals:
(1) Create an academic home for clinical and translational sciences that integrates and builds on the many strengths of UCLA and its partners.
(2) Build transdisciplinary research teams to accelerate and translate discovery to improve health.
(3) Transform educational and career-development programs to promote the next generation of clinical investigators and translational scientists.
(4) Advance and expand strong bi-directional academic–community partnerships to ensure that new scientific discovery is relevant to community needs.
(5) Serve as a national resource for collaborative research through regional, statewide and national CTSA consortia.
Concurrent with the CTSA funding, UCLA will open a new UCLA Clinical and Translational Research Center for outpatient research studies in a newly renovated area of the campus's Center for the Health Sciences. The 23,000-square-foot center will include individual patient rooms for interviews and clinical research. Clinical activities will be supported by a biomarkers research laboratory on the second floor. This research core laboratory will support the latest advances in molecular medicine and medical technology.
For more information on the UCLA CTSI, visit www.ctsi.ucla.edu.