Public Release:  NIH awards Case Western Reserve University $1.33M

Informatics support is for researchers conducting small-to medium-sized clinical studies and includes systems that store, process and facilitate the exchange of information

Case Western Reserve University

CLEVELAND - January 26, 2009 - Case Western Reserve University has been awarded a two-year contract for $1.33 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund a pilot project that will expand informatics support for investigators, providing improved collaboration and sharing of information between investigators from multiple disciplines.

Case Western Reserve University was one of three universities awarded this pilot project funding. The contracts were awarded to institutions that receive NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) and represents a collaboration among individuals at three or more institutions. Administered by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), Case Western Reserve University received a $64M CTSA award in September 2007 and in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and MetroHealth Medical Center formed the Clinical & Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC) in September 2007.

The Case Western Reserve University project, headed by Susan Redline, M.D., M.P.H., of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and G.Q. Zhang, Ph.D., the co-principal investigator from the Case School of Engineering, includes investigators from the Marshfield Clinic, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the University of Michigan. This team will develop Multi-Modality Multi-Resource Environment for Physiological and Clinical Research (Physio-MIMI), an informatics infrastructure for collecting, managing and analyzing diverse data types across institutions.

"The software developed will provide easier collaboration between investigators from diverse disciplines and help them better address complex health problems that affect multiple aspects of health, such as the heart, brain (sleep) and genomic data," said Redline. "By enhancing the ability of investigators to access, combine and analyze research information from physiological testing, questionnaires and other sources, the hope is that novel markers of disease will be identified, leading to new approaches for screening, diagnosing and treating illnesses."

Researchers will be able to more effectively and efficiently collaborate in national studies that include many complex data sources and types, such as heart or brain monitoring data and genomic information. A key component of the system will allow secure, safe and regulated transfer of information from clinical care systems and research databases. Physio-MIMI leverages an existing system called MIMI, developed by Zhang's group in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Case Western Reserve. MIMI has been deployed in a number of facilities and centers across campus to allow for more effective management of resources and research data.

"These projects, which will build on the existing strong informatics expertise at the institutions, will promote new ways in which to enable researchers to collaborate and communicate across the CTSA consortium and with other partners in their research," said NCRR Director Barbara M. Alving, M.D. "The projects are one important part of a larger effort to achieve the potential of clinical and translational science and reduce the time it takes to develop new treatments for disease."

One of the CTSA program goals is to advance collaborations in clinical and translational research by interdisciplinary teams of investigators. These collaborations help enable the translation of rapidly evolving information developed in basic biomedical research into treatments and strategies to improve human health.

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About CTSA and CTSC

The CTSA initiative grew out of the NIH commitment to restructure the clinical research enterprise, one of the key objectives of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. Funding for the CTSA comes from redirecting existing clinical and translational programs, including Roadmap funds. When fully implemented in 2012, the initiative is expected to provide more than $500 million over five years to 60 academic health centers.

Case Western Reserve University, in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and MetroHealth Medical Center formed the Clinical & Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC) in September 2007. The ultimate goal of the CTSC is to provide full service and integrated clinical translational research capability within the Cleveland community that will improve the health of patients in Northeast Ohio through patient-based research. The CTSC also provides career development support for clinical investigators and offers each research participant resources in support of technology-intensive studies. In addition, the CTSC will create new resources for current and future investigators and for the Cleveland community

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded the CTSC $64 million to become part of a national consortium designed to transform how clinical and translational research is conducted, ultimately enabling researchers to provide new treatments more efficiently and quickly to patients.

The consortium, funded through NIH's Clinical and Translational Science Awards, was launched in 2006 and ultimately will be provided to 60 academic health centers and research institutes nationwide.

The CTSC is lead by principal investigator Pamela B. Davis, dean and vice president for medical affairs of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and principal investigator, and Richard A. Rudick, vice chair of the Neurological Institute at the Cleveland Clinic and co-principal investigator bof the CTSC.

To learn more about the CTSC visit: http://casemed.case.edu/ctsc/.

About Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Founded in 1843, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine is the largest medical research institution in Ohio and 15th largest among the nation's medical schools for research funding from the National Institutes of Health. Eleven Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the school.

The School of Medicine is recognized throughout the international medical community for outstanding achievements in teaching and in 2002, became the third medical school in history to receive a pre-eminent review from the national body responsible for accrediting the nation's academic medical institutions. The School's innovative and pioneering Western Reserve2 curriculum interweaves four themes--research and scholarship, clinical mastery, leadership, and civic professionalism--to prepare students for the practice of evidence-based medicine in the rapidly changing health care environment of the 21st century.

Annually, the School of Medicine trains more than 600 M.D. and M.D./Ph.D. students and ranks in the top 25 among U.S. research-oriented medical schools as designated by U.S. News and World Report Guide to Graduate Education. The School of Medicine's primary clinical affiliate is University Hospitals and is additionally affiliated with MetroHealth Medical Center, the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, with which it established the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University in 2002. http://casemed.case.edu.

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