Johns Hopkins University will create a new center that will translate promising research into medical treatments with the $40 million in federal funds it will receive over the next five years, school officials said Tuesday.
The Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research will be funded by the National Institutes of Health. It will be part of a national group of 24 for which NIH started providing funding last year in anticipation that collaboration among scientists will accelerate the development of medical breakthroughs.
Hopkins received one of the largest awards among the 12 new institutions added to the consortium this year, university officials said.
“As a powerhouse of research, Johns Hopkins will be a very strong partner in the consortium,” said Dr. Barbara M. Alving, the director of the NIH’s National Center for Research Resources.
The NIH award totals about $100 million, but more than half of it replaces funding for research projects that were due to be renewed, according to Dr. Daniel Ford, vice dean for clinical investigation at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Ford said the funding is structured so that that Hopkins and other institutions will have to work together and become more organized in their approach to medical science. The new system also will foster collaboration among scientists who concentrate on basic laboratory experiments and clinical researchers who work with patients.
“We act in an uncoordinated ways sometimes,” Ford said. “We may have one researcher at Bayview and one at Johns Hopkins Hospital who are working on a similar problem but don’t deal with each other.”
Besides funding experiments, Hopkins plans to use the money to build facility that encourages collaboration, Ford said. The institution also intends to train scientists on leading research efforts involving people from different sub-specialties.
“We evolve into these highly technical units,” he said, “but we also need the infrastructure and people whose job it is to cross those bridges.”
Ford hopes the funding plan will strengthen the medical science establishment in this country, but he is curious about whether the mandated collaboration will work.
“It’s a big idea and a big plan,” Ford said. “And hopefully, it won’t collapse under its own weight.”
Information from: The (Baltimore) Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com
– Associated Press
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com