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Translational Science Grants Include Awards for San Diego, New England

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by CTRI includes UCSD’s School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and San Diego State University’s School of Nursing and School of Public Health—along with at least 12 other clinical and research partners.

CTRI also plans to someday erect a 292,000-square-foot building next to the 10-story Jacobs Medical Center under construction in La Jolla, which could include a great metaphor of the consortium’s plans for transforming medical research into cures. The proposed CTRI building calls for building a skyway bridge to the Jacobs hospital, which is scheduled for completion in 2016. The skyway would literally connect the translational science researchers at CTRI with the real-world medical realities of doctors and their patients.

Gary Firestein

Gary Firestein

When asked how the UCSD institute can ensure its research in fact gets translated into new patient treatments, CTRI Director and principal investigator Gary Firestein replied in an e-mail, “We can’t promise to create companies or licensees for our members, but we can help bring projects along so that they’re much more attractive to the private sector.”

Firestein, who also is a professor of medicine and dean of translational medicine at the UCSD School of Medicine, said the CTRI also intends to boost R&D at its partner institutions through a variety of means, including:

—Improving the flexibility of intellectual property terms and management.

—Developing basic templates for contract and material transfer agreements, so every new study doesn’t have to start from scratch.

—Providing access to core facilities, biomarker analysis, and novel imaging technologies.

—Creating accessible biological samples that are fully annotated with medical records in a confidential manner.

— Supporting pilot projects, data analysis, preclinical models and a robust clinical research infrastructure that includes nurses and clinical coordinators, plus the space necessary to do the work.

The program issued a similar grant for $20 million in 2008 to the San Diego-based Scripps Translational Science Institute, which is headed by Eric Topol, the prominent cardiologist and a key figure at the West Wireless Health Insitute. That grant is being used to support community-based research and education to prevent obesity and diabetes, and includes The Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Health, and eight other research centers.

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