UB receives second CTSA from NIH

UB receives second CTSA.

UB received its second five-year award from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences/NIH

By Ellen Goldbaum and Grace Lazzara

Published March 4, 2020

“The renewal of this highly competitive federal research award recognizes the caliber of scientific discoveries being made at the University at Buffalo and unequivocally affirms the positive impact we are making on the communities we serve.”
Satish K. Tripathi, president
University at Buffalo

UB has been awarded a five-year, $21.7 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health in recognition of the dramatic progress the university and its partners have made since 2015 when UB first received the CTSA.  

The CTSA program is designed to develop innovative solutions that will improve the efficiency, quality and impact of the process for turning observations in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public.

Renewal of the grant allows researchers and clinicians at UB and its partners in the Buffalo Translational Consortium to continue to innovate, speeding development of new treatments for disease, reducing health disparities and allowing more Western New Yorkers to benefit from clinical research.

UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC) of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences continues to function as the hub of the Buffalo Translational Consortium, which comprises the five UB health sciences schools, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, clinical partners, four specialized research institutes on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and five community partners.

The School of Public Health and Health Professions has a number of faculty who are co-investigators on two of the CTRC cores:

The Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) Core offers a range of educational and training opportunities that are responsive to the needs and schedules of faculty, trainees and research staff. Members of the BERD Core are:

  • Michael LaMonte, research associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health
  • Jeffrey Miecznikowski, associate professor of biostatistics
  • Gregory Wilding, professor and chair of the Department of Biostatistics and director of BERD
  • Guan Yu, assistant professor of biostatistics
  • Jiwei Zhao, assistant professor of biostatistics

The Team Science Core (TSC) offers assistance in assembling multidisciplinary clinical research teams by promoting a culture of multidisciplinary collaboration and teamwork, creating opportunities for training and coached experiential learning, and creating a system and metric for assessing team effectiveness and productivity.

Members of the TSC are:

  • Ekaterina Noyes, professor of epidemiology and environmental health and director of the TSC
  • Patricia Ohtake, associate professor of rehabilitation science and co-director of the TSC

“The renewal of this highly competitive federal research award recognizes the caliber of scientific discoveries being made at the University at Buffalo and unequivocally affirms the positive impact we are making on the communities we serve,” President Satish K. Tripathi said.

“Building on the successes we achieved with the original award, the CTSA renewal grant enables our UB researchers to further their investigations into the most vexing health problems, advance critical medical breakthroughs from bench to bedside and — in fulfillment of our university mission — make a positive difference in the lives of people here in Western New York and across the state, the nation and our world,” Tripathi added.

Clinical trial research in Buffalo has tripled

The CTSA program was developed to help speed the development of new treatments from the lab bench to patients, in large part by getting more patients to participate in and benefit from clinical trials. As many as three-quarters of clinical trials in the U.S. never reach completion due to the inability to recruit enough eligible patients to participate.

One of the clearest signals that UB’s initial CTSA is impacting health care and medical research in Western New York is the jump in the number of clinical trials ongoing in the community, and the number of Western New Yorkers who are currently benefiting.

That was accomplished by a comprehensive strategy throughout the Buffalo Translational Consortium and spearheaded by UB to bring researchers, clinical partners and community members together to better understand how to improve participation in clinical trials.

From 2015 through the end of 2018, the number of Western New Yorkers participating in clinical trials has gone up by 300%. The number of underrepresented minorities participating in UB clinical trials has increased from 27% in trials before the first CTSA was awarded in 2015 to 37% since it was funded, a number that will continue to rise thanks to the new award.

Current clinical trials at UB range from testing new treatments for diabetes, schizophrenia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and childhood asthma to dementia, preventing obesity in preschoolers and helping pregnant women to stop smoking, and much more.