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First in Clinical & Translational Science Award Renewal from NIH

September 20, 2011, Volume 58, No. 03

The Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT) of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania received a $55 million renewal from the NIH in recognition for their success during the first five years of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program. The CTSAs are administered by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR).

ITMAT’s application ranked first among competing institutes in the nationwide NIH evaluation among academic medical centers that first received a CTSA in 2006. The 2011 renewal funding totals $498 million. There are now 60 institutes who have received CTSAs over the last five years.

“ITMAT—the world’s first institute dedicated to translational research—has been able to combine funds from the CTSA with investment by the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to support the development of programs, the provision of infrastructure, and a suite of educational programs, including the masters in translational research,” said ITMAT director Dr. Garret A. FitzGerald. “The CTSA application reflects the exemplary teamwork of investigators drawn from many schools at Penn, and our partners in the Wistar Institute, Monell Chemical Senses Center, and the University of the Sciences of Philadelphia.”

Reviewers of Penn’s program praised particularly ITMAT’s decision to focus on two themes. The first, Translational Therapeutics, includes training physician scientists who are fluent in all aspects of moving basic molecular knowledge into the clinic. This is an area of direct relevance to the new National Center for Advancing Translational Science due to be launched by NIH Director Francis Collins in the fall.

The second theme, Bridging the Pediatric to Adult Disease Divide, targeted for further development in the second cycle of funding, will focus on the collaboration between the Perelman School of Medicine and CHOP to foster and support program development that projects from childhood into adulthood. ITMAT has already contributed to expanding programs for treating autism and schizophrenia in an integrated way.

“These institutes [that received renewal funding] were the pioneers in the CTSA program and are to be commended for the work they have done in bridging the traditional divides between laboratory research and medical practice,” said NCRR Director Dr. Barbara Alving. “They were tasked with transforming the way their institutions coordinate research to make it more proactive and effective in producing real-world results, and in the process, they have served as innovative models nationwide.”

To learn more about ITMAT, including its research services, funding resources, and key initiatives, visit www.itmat.upenn.edu/. Further information on the CTSA program can be found at www.ncrr.nih.gov/ctsa

Almanac - September 20, 2011, Volume 58, No. 03