New at the NIH …

Update: It’s official … see my comment below for details on the SMRB’s recommendation that Collins establish a new Center at the NIH dedicated to translational medicine and therapeutics.

First, another Continuing Resolution continues FY10 funding levels until Dec 18th. According to the AAMC, seems most likely these CRs will be the high-point of FY11:

During debate on the measure, Rep. Jerry Lewis (Calif.), the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, again expressed opposition to “any potential omnibus spending bill the Democratic leadership may be planning to bring to the House floor before the end of the year.” He also opposed extending the CR for the balance of FY 2011 at current level, which he described as “frankly, too darn high.”

Second, see the opening line of the post below. On Dec 7, the Scientific Management Review Board, which has issued a report recommending the merger of NIAAA and NIDA (under consideration by Collins, with a decision likely by summer 2011), will discuss the possible creation of a new center on translational medicine and therapeutics.

In November, Arthur Rubinstein, in a presentation on workings of the Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (TMAT) Working Group, proposed that:

a new TMAT program be established at NIH in the form of a new IC to:

  • Establish new and innovative approaches to conducting research to advance the science of process engineering of the therapeutics development pipeline, in the context of strengthening and streamlining the process itself; and
  • Serve as a catalyst, resource, and convener for collaborative interactions, capitalizing on the relative strengths of the extra-and intramural communities, private sector, government, and academia, to promote quick-win, fast-fail paradigms and further develop the pre-competitive space.

Let’s see … “process engineering of the therapeutics development pipeline” … “quick-win, fast-fail paradigms” … “pre-competitive space.”

What happened to the mission “to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems”?

Why not just say, we need a place (other than NCRR apparently) to house CAN (Cures Acceleration Network), the CTSAs, NIH-FDA projects (regulatory science), perhaps comparative effectiveness research, and some other big Roadmap initiatives in partnership with the NIH Clinical Center (to enhance its own use & sustainability)? Of course, the next question is what happens to funding levels at the 25 ICs that currently support translational research and therapeutics development (see first news bulletin above).



  1. curie said

    actually ncrr is proposed to be dissolved and moved under the new TMAT

    • writedit said

      Well, Barbara Alving (NCRR Director) is on the agenda, which does not include a specific line item about dissolving or doing anything else to NCRR (that would require another report first). I suspect it would just get downsized, given that many of its programs (e.g., C06, G20, S10) would not be a good fit elsewhere at the NIH. It existed before Zerhouni birthed the CTSAs, so why not after. Though, I guess, sigh, all these things could transition from being “research resources” to “translational resources”. In which case, why not just rename/rebrand the NCRR? New and Improved!

  2. writedit said

    Hot off the press from AAMC:

    The NIH Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) met on Tuesday. They approved a recommendation to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins that a new center be created at NIH focused on translational medicine and therapeutics. The proposed center will house the CTSA program, along with the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN), the new NIH-FDA partnership activities, the Molecular Libraries Program, the Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases program, the NIH-RAID (Rapid Access to Interventional Development) initiative, and possibly other programs and functions. The panel also requested a report back from NIH staff in about three months about the structural implications of creating such a center on other programs, including the other functions of NCRR. The Board also gave final approval to a set of recommendations regarding the functioning and management of the Clinical Center. The Board recommended revising the Center’s governance structure, opening up the Center to extramural researchers, and making the Center a budget line item in the Office of the Director budget.

  3. BB said

    This looks like a good thing I think; NCI is too interested in the sexy and not interested enough in moving therapeutics forward.

  4. […] 8, 2010 at 12:47 pm · Filed under NIH Advice, Research News As noted yesterday, the SMRB met to consider whether to create a new IC to “establish new and innovative […]

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