July 14, 2009
CHARLESTON -- One of the most challenging aspects of today’s health-care system is the time it takes for a promising new treatment to become accessible to those who need it. The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) joins 39 previously funded academic medical research institutions within a national network working together to reduce the time it takes to turn laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, to engage communities in clinical research efforts, and to train the next generation of researchers. MUSC has been awarded the coveted Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Center for Research Resources, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH will grant a total of 60 CTSAs through 2012 to round out this exclusive network.
"This award is the result of the collaborative efforts of clinicians, researchers and educators across the state of South Carolina, all with the shared vision of improving the health of the state’s citizens," said Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D., director of MUSC's South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute (SCTR). "We are grateful to the National Institutes of Health for giving MUSC and our collaborators the opportunity to join the top research universities in the U.S. in the CTSA consortium." Brady is the principal investigator for the $20 million award.
MUSC and the SCTR will receive the funds over a five-year span. These monies will fund a total of 11 programs on campus and through partnerships with the University of South Carolina, Health Sciences South Carolina, Clemson University, South Carolina State University, Claflin University, Greenwood Genetics Center, South Carolina Research Authority, and VA medical centers. The award provides these programs with more infrastructure support, better training for researchers, and perhaps best of all, greater access to top clinical trials and promising new treatments for patients who need them now.
"The CTSA is the vehicle that the NIH is using to shape the future of clinical research, and clinical and translational work are among the highest priorities at the Medical University. We see great opportunities with this new award to build upon our established successes," said MUSC president Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D. "Given the great disparities in health within the population of South Carolina, our focus, appropriately enough, will be on many of the conditions which contribute to these disparities. Our partnerships with colleagues across the state will amplify the impact of what we may have been able to accomplish on our own."
The CTSA not only enables MUSC to play a larger, national role in improving the lives of patients across a spectrum of diseases, but also provides economic opportunities for South Carolina. Moving forward in an unprecedented economic climate and in addition to jobs created directly from the CTSA, research and clinical success from CTSA will beget more biotechnology transfer and spin-off companies and contributions to the knowledge-based economy taking root in South Carolina.
Perry Halushka, M.D., Ph.D., MUSC College of Graduate Studies dean and CTSA co-principal investigator, played a large role for decades in ground-breaking translational research long before it became a national focus. "The predecessor to this grant, the General Clinical Research Center, had a 35-year history of conducting outstanding clinical and translational research," he said. "With the CTSA grant and SCTR, I see the university building on this tradition and accelerating the process of translating basic science discoveries to improvements in the treatment of patients."
MUSC Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost John Raymond, M.D., said, "I know this is going to be a complex, exciting, challenging endeavor. I look forward to enlisting the broadest possible participation in this transformative process, and we are committed to optimizing this opportunity to ensure the brightest future for MUSC, our statewide network of partners, and the people of South Carolina."
To learn more about the CTSA program at MUSC, visit www.musc.edu/sctr. For more general information about the CTSA program, visit www.ncrr.nih.gov/crctsa or the CTSA consortium Web site at www.CTSAweb.org. A description of each program and its lead investigator is available upon request.
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.6 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit www.musc.edu or www.muschealth.com.