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MUSC earns $20 million award from National Institutes of Health

Dr, Kathleen BradyDr. Perry Halushka 
Dr. Kathleen Brady & Dr. Perry Halushka

One of the most challenging aspects of today's health care system is the time it takes for a promising new treatment to become accessible to those who need it. Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) joins 39 previously funded academic medical research institutions within a national network working together to reduce the time it takes to turn laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, to engage communities in clinical research efforts, and to train the next generation of researchers. MUSC has been awarded the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) coveted Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA). The NIH will grant a total of 60 CTSAs through 2012 to round out this exclusive network.

This award is the result of the collaborative efforts of clinicians, researchers and educators across the state of South Carolina, all with the shared vision of improving the health of the state’s citizens,” said Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D., SCTR Director and CTSA Principal Investigator. “We are grateful to the National Institutes of Health for giving MUSC and our collaborators the opportunity to join the top research universities in the U.S. in the CTSA consortium.”

MUSC, and thus the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute (SCTR) that the CTSA supports, will receive $20 million in research funding during the next five years. These monies will fund a total of 11 programs on campus and through partnerships with the University of South Carolina, Health Sciences South Carolina, Clemson University, South Carolina State University, Claflin University, Greenwood Genetics Center, South Carolina Research Authority, and VA medical centers. The award provides these programs with more infrastructure support, better training for researchers, and perhaps best of all, greater access to top clinical trials and promising new treatments for patients who need them now. 
 
“The CTSA is the vehicle that the NIH is using to shape the future of clinical research, and clinical and translational work are among the highest priorities at the Medical University. We see great opportunities with this new award to build upon our established successes,” said MUSC President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D. “Given the great disparities in health within the population of South Carolina, our focus, appropriately enough, will be on many of the conditions which contribute to these disparities. Our partnerships with colleagues across the state will amplify the impact of what we may have been able to accomplish on our own.”

The CTSA not only enables MUSC to play a larger, national role in improving the lives of patients across a spectrum of diseases, but also provides economic opportunities for South Carolina. Moving forward in an unprecedented economic climate and in addition to jobs created directly from the CTSA, research and clinical success from CTSA will beget more biotechnology transfer and spin-off companies and contributions to the knowledge-based economy taking root in South Carolina.

Perry Halushka, M.D., Ph.D., MUSC College of Graduate Studies dean and CTSA co-principal investigator, played a large role for decades in ground-breaking translational research long before it became a national focus. “
The predecessor to this grant, the General Clinical Research Center, had a 35-year history of conducting outstanding clinical and translational research,” he said.  “With the CTSA grant and SCTR, I see the university building on this tradition and accelerating the process of translating basic science discoveries to improvements in the treatment of patients.”

MUSC Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost John Raymond, M.D., said, “I know this is going to be a complex, exciting, challenging endeavor. I look forward to enlisting the broadest possible participation in this transformative process, and we are committed to optimizing this opportunity to ensure the brightest future for MUSC, our statewide network of partners, and the people of South Carolina."

“We are truly unique in that our CTSA award is the only partnership focused on health issues specific to rural areas with a statewide reach,” said Randal Davis, MUSC’s CTSA project director.

To learn more about the CTSA program at MUSC, visit www.musc.edu/sctr. For more general information about the CTSA program, visit www.ncrr.nih.gov/crctsa or the CTSA consortium website at www.CTSAweb.org. A description of each program and its lead investigator is available upon request.

                                                                               


Related Podcast:
- CTSA means better care, research and training

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