The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded US$22.7 million to support bench-to-bedside efforts at the University of Cincinnati’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST).

The five-year grant makes Cincinnati University the 39th member of the NIH’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) consortium, a national network of medical research institutions led by the NIH’s National Center for Research Resources (NCRR).

Launched in 2006, with new members added in 2007 and 2008, the consortium works to accelerate the transition of laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, engage communities in clinical research and to train the next generation of clinical and translational researchers.

The NCRR plans to award further CTSA grants this year, and the goal is to have some 60 members signed up by the time the programme is fully implemented in 2012. There have been concerns, though, about the impact of federal budgetary constraints on the CTSA programme, which the American Federation for Medical Research has desrcribed as "a critical training and research structure for junior investigators”.

Consortium activities since 2006 have included:

- Training researchers in the complexities of clinical and translational research through nationally recognised degree-granting programmes
- Leveraging CTSA resources to expand research and training opportunities in underserved states and communities
- Assembling interdisciplinary teams that include basic scientists, biologists, clinical researchers, dentists, veterinarians, nurses, pharmacists, biomedical engineers and geneticists
- Partnering with researchers at minority institutions to enhance outreach to underserved populations, local community and advocacy organisations, and health care providers
- Creating best practices to improve clinical research informatics tools for research data analysis and clinical trial management
- Designating for marketing and licensing technologies that will enhance global access to research tools
- Forging new partnerships with private and public healthcare organisations, including pharmaceutical companies, Departments of Veterans Affairs hospitals, health maintenance organisations and state health agencies.

The University of Cincinnati’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training was set up in 2005 as a collaborative venture between the University, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University Hospital and the Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

With its CTSA funding, the CCTST will expand its support for pediatric research through the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; pursue new translational technologies, among them large-scale studies of proteins (proteomics), drug discovery, imaging, nanomedicine, gene transfer and stem cell biology; and increase outreach into the local community, including collaborations with the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center.