Latest News from Around the CTSA Program Consortium

Opioid epidemic may have cost U.S. governments $37.8 billion in tax revenue

Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute

The opioid epidemic may have cost U.S. state and federal governments up to $37.8 billion in lost tax revenue due to opioid-related employment loss, according to Penn State researchers.

Additionally, the researchers found that Pennsylvania was one of the states with the most lost revenue, with approximately $638.2 million lost to income and sales tax. The study looked at data between 2000 and 2016.

The study included Dennis Scanlon, a member of the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute's Community-Engaged Research Core. The institute also helped purchase the dataset used in the study. 

April 19, 2019

UMN CTSI develops NIH Study Record resource

University of Minnesota's Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)

The UMN CTSI-developed resource brings together information that is otherwise found in multiple websites, blogs, and email communications from NIH to help investigators, grant coordinators and others save time when completing the NIH Study Record for proposed human subjects research, clinical research, and clinical trials. It is a curated collection of NIH instructions that take applicants step-by-step through the completion of the NIH Study Record, and offers answers to frequently asked questions, tips, and expert opinion about how to complete the Study Record.

April 19, 2019

Dr. Brewer demonstrates the app to a man wearing a suit and a red tie. Mayo Clinic
Culturally relevant health app shows positive impact

Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science

Mobile apps are popular sources of fast and easily digested consumer health information. But can they actually help in measurable ways to make you more healthy?

According to a pilot study by Mayo Clinic researchers, they can if the content is presented in a culturally relevant, targeted and engaging way — and in this case, it helps that the mobile health, or mHealth, intervention was developed in collaboration with the people who used it, within African American faith communities.

April 15, 2019

Dr. Richard Barohn presents the 2019 Team Science Award to Drs. Doug Wright, Mamatha Pasnoor and Patricia Kluding smile at Frontiers Research Day 2019. University of Kansas Medical Center
Frontiers: University of Kansas CTSI Presents 2019 Team Science Award

Frontiers: University of Kansas CTSI

The 2019 Frontiers: University of Kansas Clinical and Translational Science Institute Team Science Award was presented to Patricia Kluding, P.T., Ph.D., Douglas Wright, Ph.D., and Mamatha Pasnoor, M.D., at Frontiers Research Day on Thursday, March 28, 2019, for their project titled “Team Science Approaches to Translational Research in Diabetic Neuropathy.”

“One of Frontiers’ key goals is to help investigators think about how a wider, multi-disciplinary perspective will lead to better research outcomes,” said William Brooks, Ph.D., Associate Director of Frontiers.

Kluding, Wright and Pasnoor’s team science approach was based on collaborative interests in developing clinical interventions for patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy. Their team, which spans the disciplines of physical therapy, anatomy and cell biology and neurology, has significantly added to the understanding of how physical activity and exercise can improve the lives of patients with diabetic neuropathy, and how various biomarkers can be modified by exercise.

April 12, 2019

closeup photo of educational book lot Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash
Scope, Influence, and Interdisciplinary Collaboration: The Publication Portfolio of the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program From 2006 Through 2017

Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance (Georgia CTSA)

A team of evaluators from three different CTSA hubs have used complementary bibliometric approaches to assess the scope, influence, and interdisciplinary collaboration of publications supported by single CTSA hubs and those supported by multiple hubs. Authors identified articles acknowledging CTSA support and assessed the disciplinary scope of research areas represented in that publication portfolio. This study characterizes the CTSA consortium’s contributions to clinical and translational science, identifies content areas of strength, and provides evidence for the success of multihub collaborations. The team of authors are: Nicole Llewellyn1, Dorothy R. Carter2, Deborah DiazGranados3,4, Clara Pelfrey5, Latrice Rollins6, Eric J. Nehl7. 

1 Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance, Emory University School of Medicine
2 Georgia CTSA
3 School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University
4 Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research, VCU
5 Clinical & Translational Science Collaborative of Cleveland, CWRU
6 Georgia CTSA 
7 Georgia CTSA 

April 11, 2019

Human colon cancer cell
Cancer Exports Molecular ‘Saboteurs’ to Remotely Disarm Immune System

UC San Francisco CTSI

Robert Blelloch, MD, PhD, professor of urology received a Catalyst award in Spring 2018 for the development of small molecule inhibitors of immune checkpoint protein presentation. This included an award and consultation - the Catalyst program team is excited to see the project's progress. His translational research on the role of exosomal PD-L1 in resistance to immunotherapy was published recently in the journal Cell and has been featured in the New York Times and on the NIH Director’s Blog.

Immunotherapy drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized cancer treatment: many patients with malignancies that until recently would have been considered untreatable are experiencing long-term remissions. But the majority of patients don’t respond to these drugs, and they work far better in some cancers than others, for reasons that have befuddled scientists. Now, UC San Francisco researchers have identified a surprising phenomenon that may explain why many cancers don’t respond to these drugs, and hints at new strategies to unleash the immune sysystem against disease.

April 11, 2019

Dena Dubal
Catalyst Awardee Dena Dubal's Research on Drug to Turbocharge the Brain

UC San Francisco CTSI

The New York Times featured the research of Catalyst Awardee and UCSF Professor Dena Dubal, MD, PhD.

One Day There May Be a Drug to Turbocharge the Brain. Who Should Get It?

In 2011, Dr. Dena Dubal was hired by the University of California, San Francisco, as an assistant professor of neurology. She set up a new lab with one chief goal: to understand a mysterious hormone called Klotho.

Dr. Dubal wondered if it might be the key to finding effective treatments for dementia and other disorders of the aging brain. At the time, scientists only knew enough about Klotho to be fascinated by it.

Mice bred to make extra Klotho lived 30 percent longer, for instance. But scientists also had found Klotho in the brain, and so Dr. Dubal launched experiments to see whether it had any effect on how mice learn and remember.

April 10, 2019

Dr. Bharucha smiling,talks with a female patient, face indistinct Mayo Clinic
The lowdown with Dr. Bharucha: Gastroenterology researcher and clinical trials guru

Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science

For Adil Bharucha, M.B.B.S., M.D., research is a passion nurtured over time. A passion, he says, that came to him, not in a dazzling “a-ha moment,” but slowly, through the encouragement of mentors, the exhilarating feeling of discovery, and the compassion he felt for his patients—“through osmosis,” he says.

He began his medical studies at University of Bombay, in India and then came to the United States, where he accepted a residency, then a fellowship, in gastroenterology at Mayo Clinic, and later joined the staff.

Now, 27 years and more than 200 research papers later, he is director of the Office of Clinical Trials, in the Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science.  Under his leadership, the Office of Clinical Trials works with study teams and sponsors to facilitate clinical trials that accelerate the translation of medical discoveries into patient care.

April 04, 2019

Portraits of Michael Gionfriddo, Shawna Ehlers, and Garett Schramm Mayo Clinic
How Mayo Clinic recruits and trains researchers from within

Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science

Mayo Clinic has a long history of encouraging its clinicians to pursue research. This is because some of the most critical advances in medicine happen when clinicians see something in a patient they’ve never seen before and set out to find the answers.

But the question often arises: How does a clinician acquire the specialized skills and knowledge to make the jump into research?

April 01, 2019

Courtesy T.J. Sharpe
Cancer survivor advocates for clinical trial participation

Virginia Commonwealth University C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research

T.J. Sharpe was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma just weeks after the birth of his second child in August 2012. Sharpe had overcome the most dangerous form of skin cancer 12 years prior, so news of the recurrence came as a shock. What followed was even more shocking, when doctors told him he had less than two years to live. Not willing to let his life be defined by a diagnosis, Sharpe enrolled in two clinical trials to try to beat his long odds of survival. Now nearly seven years after that second diagnosis and living cancer free, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-resident has forged a career as a patient advocate and clinical trial experience expert, making it his life’s mission to share the value of clinical research with audiences around the country. 

On April 12, Sharpe will visit Richmond, Virginia to speak about his experience with clinical trials at the Virginia Clinical Research Conference, hosted by the VCU C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research.

March 29, 2019

Jeff Anderson, Bharath Wootla, and Nathan Wiedenman pose in the Gonda Building atrium Mayo Clinic
‘Bridge building specialists’ keep science moving forward

Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science

“Physicians and researchers often have new ideas for medical devices, drugs, biologics, or other products that they want to deliver to patients, but they don’t know how to bring those discoveries to life,” says Jeff Anderson, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic Office of Translation to Practice.  Taking the next steps in product development may require access to additional resources or know-how. That’s the critical moment where the Mayo Clinic Office of Translation to Practice can step in to help bridge the gap.

The Office of Translation to Practice recently shared what it has learned in its first three years—best practices, innovations, and early successes—in a paper published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

March 27, 2019

Medical University of South Carolina
Restoring this enzyme’s function protects against heart disease in lupus and beyond

South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina

Patients with lupus are on average seven to nine times more likely to develop heart disease than the general population.

A research team at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) led by Jim C. Oates, M.D., director of the Division of Rheumatology & Immunology, has shown that the enzyme responsible for nitric oxide production stops working properly when exposed to serum from lupus patients and that its function can be restored by administration of L-sepiapterin.

Nitric oxide is thought to be protective against heart disease.

The team collected serum samples from a cohort of African American patients, specifically Gullah patients, with lupus. The Research Nexus Research Center of the South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research (SCTR) Institute at MUSC helped the research team collect study samples from control volunteers and process samples from study patients and control volunteers.

Their findings, published by Lupus Science & Medicine, provide proof of concept that the enzyme could be a therapeutic target for heart disease in lupus.

March 26, 2019

Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative of Cleveland selects first round of team development retreats

Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative of Cleveland

The CTSC Community and Collaboration Component has selected six multidisciplinary research teams to turn collective ideas into translational research projects, with a special focus on the integration of community, clinical and industry stakeholders as part of the endeavor. Teams range from six to 18 investigators from all eight schools and colleges at the university.

The overall goal of the projects will be to turn observations in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and populations, ranging from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral interventions.

The selected teams had to include investigators from multiple disciplines and at least one translational stakeholder—one who has a stake in the outcome and whose input could greatly enhance the research endeavor. The six teams will be provided a package of support to help develop their translational ideas, including a four-hour retreat, professional group facilitator, graphic recorder and administrative support to pursue their projects.

March 26, 2019

Headshot of Allison Webel smiling. Case Western Reserve University
A cure for HIV? Feasible but not yet realized

Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative of Cleveland

We've made a lot of progress in the fight against HIV and the recent announcement of a second patient in remission reignited hope of cure on the horizon. In her widely read article A cure for HIV? Feasible but not yet realized, former Cleveland CTSC KL2 Scholar, Allison Webel, RN, PhD, breaks down the science behind the headlines and discusses what it means for HIV prevention and treatment today.

March 25, 2019

Photo of a person having their blood pressure checked Getty Images
VCU researcher leads study aimed at improving care for people with chronic conditions

Virginia Commonwealth University C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has awarded a nearly $2 million grant to the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine and Population Health to test a model of care that aims to better connect primary care clinicians with community resources and health system services.

People who struggle with multiple chronic conditions often also have unmet social needs, unhealthy behaviors and other mental health challenges, said Alex Krist, M.D., a professor of family medicine in the School of Medicine who will lead the research funded by the grant.

Krist, who is the co-director of community-engaged research at the VCU C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research, will lead a research team that includes VCU investigators along with community partners and colleagues at the University of Colorado and University of Texas Health Science Center. The research was informed by a pilot grant awarded to Krist by the Wright Center, through which he and colleagues tested a social needs screening tool that will be used for the study. 

March 25, 2019

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