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Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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NIH Considering New Translational Medicine Institute
2 December 2010 4:01 pm
Weeks after deciding to trim one of its 27 institutes and centers, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is now looking at creating a new center focused on translational medicine. An advisory board will vote on the proposal next week.
According to slides from a 10 November advisory board teleconference, the new center would take advantage of the growing number of potential drug "targets" emerging from basic research labs at the same time that drug companies are cutting back on research and development. The center's purpose would be to "expand and augment the agency's effort in developing new therapeutics."
It would house several existing programs at NIH, including a small molecule-screening program, an effort to develop drugs for rare and neglected diseases, and NIH's Clinical and Translational Science Awards, which are big grants that support clinical research at academic medical centers. The center would also fold in the Cures Acceleration Network, a drug development program created by the health care reform bill. It would have strong ties to NIH's intramural Clinical Center, an underused, 240-bed facility that advisers say NIH should open up to outside scientists.
The proposal for the translational center comes from a working group of NIH's Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB), which looks for ways to streamline NIH's structure. NIH Director Francis Collins is moving ahead with a recent SMRB recommendation to combine research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in a new addictions institute. This will trim NIH's 27 institutes to 26.
Adding more institutes was not what some envisioned SMRB would do. But the law creating SMRB also capped the total number of NIH institutes at 27, leaving open the possibility of creating a new one whenever the number drops.
The SMRB working group's chair, Arthur Rubenstein, dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment ahead of a 7 December meeting during which the full SMRB will discuss the proposed center. But debate can be expected. In the past, industry scientists have questioned the value of some of NIH's drug-discovery efforts.