Tuesday, January 3, 2012

NIH Establishing NCATS

In a move to re-engineer the process for translating scientific discoveries into new drugs, diagnostics, and devices, NIH is establishing the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). The funding in the FY 2012 spending bill establishes NCATS with a budget of $575 million to act as a catalyst for innovations in translational science and also work with partners in the regulatory, academic, nonprofit, and private sectors.

According to NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins, M.D., PhD, “Patients suffering from debilitating and life threatening diseases do not have the luxury to wait the 13 years it currently takes to translate new scientific discoveries into treatments that could save or improve the quality of their lives.”

An example of an innovative NCATS project is the new initiative between NIH, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and FDA to develop cutting-edge chip technology. The new technology will enable researchers to screen for safe and effective drugs far more swiftly and efficiently than current methods.

These programs will be part of NCATS:

• Bridging Interventional Development Gaps—to make critical resources available as needed for the development of new therapeutic agents
• Clinical and Translational Science Awards—to fund a national consortium of medical research institutions to work together to improve the way clinical and translational research is conducted nationwide
• Cures Acceleration Network—to enable NCATS to fund research in new and innovative ways
• FDA-NIH Regulatory Science—to form an interagency partnership to accelerate the development and use of better tools and approaches
• Office of Rare Diseases Research—to coordinate and support rare diseases research
• Components of the Molecular Libraries—to provide researchers with access to the large-scale screening capacity necessary to identify compounds that can be used as chemical probes to validate new therapeutic targets
• Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases—to encourage and speed the development of new drugs for rare and neglected diseases

For more information, go to www.nih.gov/about/director/ncats/index.htm.