NIH awards $20 million CTSA grant to Scripps Translational Science Institute

Researchers and clinicians will accelerate transfer of new scientific discoveries

SAN DIEGO – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today that Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) has received a highly competitive $20 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). STSI is led by Eric J. Topol, M.D. and is a collaborative program between The Scripps Research Institute and Scripps Health, partnering with a number of institutions in San Diego.

STSI is one of 14 research centers to receive a CTSA grant this year, joining a national consortium of institutions working to accelerate clinical and translational research to catapult scientific discoveries that improve medicine. To date, STSI is one of only four California programs to receive CTSA funding and the first in Southern California. It is also the only program to be selected to the consortium that is not a university.

“Our program capitalizes on this unique time in biomedical research with momentous progress in such areas as genomics, stem cells, and applications of wireless technology,” said Dr. Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and principal investigator of the grant. “This funding and participation in the consortium allows us to make even greater progress in developing individualized treatment and prevention strategies. We will harness the excitement of today’s scientific advances to create tomorrow’s preventions, improve health, and train the future leaders of academic medicine.”

STSI is a unique community collaboration. In addition to The Scripps Research Institute and Scripps Health, participating institutions and investigators include a diverse network: J. Craig Venter Institute, The Neurosciences Institute, Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, Burnham Institute for Medical Research, San Diego Supercomputer Center, The Salk Institute, San Diego State University and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The grant was awarded on the Institute’s first application, a rare occurrence in the rigorous and highly competitive process. It will have a major impact on the San Diego region since the grant supports community-based research and education to prevent obesity and diabetes, enhances the collaboration with the extraordinary life science industry on the bioscience-rich Torrey Pines Mesa, and will attract talented young physicians and scientists from all over the United States to undergo advanced research training here.

STSI’s application had unanimous support from the region’s congressional delegation.

“Congratulations to Scripps Translational Science Institute and Dr. Eric Topol for winning a prestigious Clinical and Translational Science Award,” said Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA), Co-Chair of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus. "With this award, the Scripps Translational Science Institute takes a quantum leap forward in understanding the genetic underpinnings of diseases such as heart disease and cancer which may some day translate into groundbreaking therapies.”

The consortium created by CTSA members was formed in 2006 and currently includes 38 organizations across the nation, including STSI. When the consortium inducts its final member institutions in 2012, it will be comprised of 60 institutions, each focused on accelerating research that impacts health.

About Scripps Translational Science Institute
Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI), is an initiative of Scripps Health in collaboration with The Scripps Research Institute that supports basic research and clinical programs focused on defining the genes that underlie susceptibility to disease, and will take these findings into drug discovery programs and clinical trials. STSI’s work involves genotyping tens of thousands of individuals of diverse ancestry in an attempt to identify and define genes responsible for major disease and the underpinnings of health.

The identification of these genes will lead to drug discovery and gene-specific clinical trials. STSI, in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) consortium is transforming how clinical and translational research is conducted, ultimately enabling researchers to provide new treatments more efficiently and quickly to patients. For more information, visit www.stsiweb.org.

Media Contacts:

Don Stanziano
Scripps Health
stanziano.don@scrippshealth.org
(858) 678-7486

Keith McKeown
The Scripps Research Institute
kmckeown@scripps.edu
(858)784-8134