Wednesday, July 14, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Public Affairs and Publications
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UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS MEDICAL SCHOOL RECEIVES $20 MILLION TO ADVANCE LABORATORY DISCOVERIES INTO CLINICAL TREATMENTS

Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) places UMMS among elite consortium of research institutions

WORCESTER, Mass.— The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) has been awarded a five-year, $20 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to accelerate the process of turning laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, engage communities in clinical research and enhance the training of a new generation of researchers. Led by the National Center for Research Resources of the NIH, the CTSA program is a national consortium of 55 elite medical research institutions working together to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country.

“With this extraordinary grant, the National Institutes of Health has recognized the outstanding research taking place at UMass Medical School and has invested in the promise of future life-saving therapeutics that will result from our research,” said UMMS Chancellor Michael F. Collins, MD. “This is a proud moment for the University, for UMass Medical School and for the many individuals and departments throughout the UMass system who contributed to the successful application. It signals the beginning of a new era, one in which UMass is a major player in translational research.”

Launched in 2006, members of the CTSA consortium share a common vision to reduce the time it takes for laboratory discoveries to become treatments for patients, and to engage communities in clinical research efforts. A major goal of the program is to develop teams of investigators from various fields of research who can take scientific discoveries in the laboratory and turn them into treatments and strategies for patients in the clinic. By encouraging collaboration across disciplines, CTSAs use innovative approaches to tackle research challenges and train clinical and translational researchers.

The UMMS grant will be disbursed in five annual $4 million installments and will support the recently established University of Massachusetts Center for Clinical and Translational Science (UMCCTS), which is located at the Worcester campus and serves as the home for clinical and translational scientists and researchers across all five UMass campuses.

“This is a landmark moment for the University of Massachusetts Medical School and for the UMass system as a whole. This award from the National Institutes of Health recognizes the pioneering quality of the research being conducted at UMMS and the acute need to convert it into therapies that will improve and save lives,” said Jack M. Wilson, president of the University of Massachusetts. “I want to commend Chancellor Michael F. Collins, Dean Terence R. Flotte and Vice Provost for Research John L. Sullivan for leading the team that has garnered this award. I am very proud to note that this effort will include scientists and researchers from all five UMass campuses working in collaboration. It is clear that our grant application was strengthened by the fact that skills and expertise from each campus are being harnessed in this effort. This is a very proud moment for the university and further testament to the enormous growth and maturation we are seeing at the medical school and throughout the UMass system.”

The primary goals of the UMCCTS are to:

  • accelerate early phase clinical trials by recruiting and supporting clinical research leaders, establishing innovative research support facilities and developing new therapeutics based on UMass discoveries;
  • integrate unique networks of clinical research and health care delivery in central New England and throughout Massachusetts to expand later phase clinical trials;and
  • build collaboration among the three schools of UMMS (the School of Medicine, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Graduate School of Nursing) and across the five UMass campuses in developing programs, curricula and faculty support systems that foster and promote careers in clinical and translational research.

“The CTSA catapults UMass Medical School into the upper ranks of research institutions, positioning us alongside institutions like Harvard, Johns Hopkins and the University of California at San Francisco,” said John L. Sullivan, MD, vice provost for research and professor of pediatrics and molecular genetics & microbiology. “The funds will allow us, through our Center for Clinical and Translational Science, to apply our remarkable knowledge base to clinical applications that have direct impact on human diseases, such as diabetes and cancer.”

For more information about the CTSA at UMass Medical School visit www.umassmed.edu

For additional details about the NIH CTSA initiative, including a full list of CTSA centers, visit www.ctsaweb.org

About the University of Massachusetts Medical School
The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research. The Medical School attracts more than $240 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. The mission of the Medical School is to advance the health and well-being of the people of the commonwealth and the world through pioneering education, research, public service and health care delivery with its clinical partner, UMass Memorial Health Care. For more information, visit www.umassmed.edu.