A UCSD center that's been facilitating Covid-19 clinical research gets $55M from NIH to boost translational work
A team at the University of California San Diego that’s been facilitating studies on the frontlines of Covid-19 has received a $54.7 million grant from the NIH to bind basic research with clinical care even more tightly together.
Every year the 1,000 faculty and staff at the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute partner with UCSD Health to help run 250 trials — including recent trials investigating “an antiviral drug, an arthritis drug and a medication for hypertension” as treatments for the coronavirus infection.
In response to the pandemic, the ACTRI also sets up a biobank to collect and distribute samples for researchers working on diagnostics and treatments.
The new grant, which will be awarded over five years, brings the total federal funding it’s received since it opened in 2010 to $144 million.
“The first CTSA laid the foundation for transforming our institution. It built the early infrastructure that would help change the way we thought about moving discoveries from the lab to the clinic,” founding director Gary Firestein said in a statement. “The second CTSA focused on making ACTRI the hub for clinical research and clinical trials at UC San Diego.”
This third infusion will introduce new resources on top of all that, with a focus on discovery and innovation.
His group had been practicing such an approach for the past few years, serving as a testing site for the Tricorder XPRIZE competition to evaluate emerging medical technology.
Specifically, the ACTRI will be launching two new centers: Device Acceleration Center and Center for Excellence in Immunogenomics. It will also expand programs to support young faculty, train investigators and teach grant-writing.
“Science and medicine often operate in parallel universes,” Firestein said. “We’ve taken steps to bring them together, but we want to go farther in integrating research and clinical care.”