Published August 13, 2015
The University at Buffalo has been awarded a four-year $15 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to speed the delivery of new drugs, diagnostics and medical devices to patients.
“This award recognizes and leverages the strong research and clinical collaborations UB and our partners on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) have built,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi.
“It gives us the ability to realize the value of these collaborations at an even higher level — empowering us as we move discoveries from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside, improve patient care and enhance economic development in Western New York by successfully commercializing scientific breakthroughs.”
The award puts UB and the Buffalo Translational Consortium, composed of clinical and research institutions on the BNMC, into an elite tier of institutions.
“This prestigious federal grant recognizes the high-impact clinical research already taking place here in Western New York,” emphasized Rep. Brian Higgins, co-chair of the Congressional NIH Caucus.
“Because of this funding, the world-class medical research happening in Western New York will be translated into treatments and solutions for patients around the world, which will create jobs, support the local economy and, most importantly — save lives,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer.
“This is truly a game-changer for building an entirely new infrastructure to fight diseases in Western New York and across our state,” he said.
“This grant will benefit our entire academic health center by raising the level of research, health care and training,” said Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research and SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine.
UB will now be competing for highly selective awards that are open only to CTSA institutions, noted Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the school of medicine.
“Those grants will increase UB’s capacity for doing high-impact, clinical research, which will bring health care innovations to Buffalo so that people in our community can participate in, and benefit from, these groundbreaking studies,” said Cain.
Murphy envisions “significant growth” in the hiring of new research personnel with a variety of backgrounds to perform clinical and translational research. Funds also will go toward funding parts of high-level faculty lines.
Murphy is principal investigator on the grant; SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine John M. Canty Jr., MD, Albert and Elizabeth Rekate Professor and chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, is co-principal investigator.
The grant will establish the UB Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC) as the hub of the Buffalo Translational Consortium.
The CTRC “will provide critical resources to help advance cutting edge research and scientific breakthroughs in patient health and wellness,” noted Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
The center is a unique 170,000-square-foot research facility that allows UB's physician-scientists to conduct research upstairs in the CTRC and see patients downstairs in Kaleida Health's Gates Vascular Institute and at Buffalo General Medical Center, the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“The whole idea behind translational science is to devise better ways to do clinical research that will improve the health of the community and contribute to clinical research in the nation,” explained Murphy, director of the CTRC.
“It’s clear that the best patient care goes hand-in-hand with outstanding clinical research,” he says.
With the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences as the main UB entity, the Buffalo Translational Consortium involves the university’s five health sciences schools and other UB schools and research institutes. Also partnering on the grant are local research institutes.
Reviewers cited several unique aspects of UB’s grant, including UB programs that have expanded outreach to the city’s underserved populations, such as the Department of Family Medicine’s Patient Voices Network.
Also recognized was UB’s history of expertise in medical ontology — the science of how medical entities are classified and the relationships between them — which has become increasingly important with the advent of big data and bioinformatics.