February 06, 2015

CCTS has pivotal role in discovery, knowledge at UAB

Written by
kimberlyRobert Kimberly, M.D.If you know individuals affiliated with the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science, you know this holiday season was a busy one for them as they worked diligently to submit the application for renewal of the Clinical & Translational Science Award (CTSA) program here at UAB.

The UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) is one of 62 centers nationwide making up the Consortium of centers supported by a Clinical & Translational Science Award distributed by the National Institutes of Health. The CCTS is the only CTSA in Alabama, and one of just a few in the Southeast. The NIH defines translational science as, “the field of investigation focused on understanding the scientific and operational principles underlying each step of the translational process.” Simply put, the CCTS acts as a catalyst to spark and foster research from the bench to the bedside.

“The CCTS strives to function both as the voice of the investigator and as an advocate for the research participant, while driving ongoing improvements in the research environment that will accelerate the discovery, development and delivery of knowledge,” says CCTS Director Robert Kimberly, M.D.

Since its establishment at UAB in 2008, the UAB CCTS has grown its roots in the foundation of this institution as an invaluable resource for translational research.
Under the leadership of Kimberly, the CCTS has expanded its relationships and programs throughout the southeast in establishing the Partner Network. This regional network comprises three states—Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, and 10 research and medical institutions therein. The CCTS acts as a hub facilitating a network of diverse partnerships, crossing institutional boundaries to improve human health and healthcare delivery. From its robust Research Commons and Project Panels, designed to foster collaboration, to the ongoing development and expansion of training programs via the Training Academy, the CCTS continues to accelerate the pace, efficiency, and most importantly the quality of translational research conducted throughout the Southeast.

The recent announcement of the creation of the Informatics Institute and the naming of James Cimino, M.D., formerly of the NIH’s Laboratory for Informatics Development, as its inaugural director and co-director of the CCTS, speak to our vision for innovation in big data and health informatics. The institute will focus on four areas of interest: Data management, software development, bioinformatics and education.

  CCTS Timeline

2006- Congress launches the CTSA program via the National Institutes of Health

2008- UAB receives a Center for Translational Science Award, or CTSA, and establishes the Center for Clinical and Translational Science

2011- National Institutes of Health established the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

2012- Dr. Robert Kimberly assumes directorship of the UAB CCTS

2015- CCTS submits renewal grant for continued support of CTSA at UAB
The CCTS also includes a Clinical Trials Office (CTO), co-led by Mansoor Saleh, M.D., Medical Director; Robert Kimberly, M.D., and Richard Marchase, Ph.D., UAB vice president for Research. Under the purview of the CTO, research teams receive assistance in:

  • Budget development
  • Study design and data analysis
  • Multi-site study development
  • Trial recruitment
  • Education, training and implementation
  • Regulatory adherence

CTO personnel assist with contract development and documentation for conflict of interest review, and leveraging IRB reliance and master contract agreements to ensure the efficient, effective, implementation of a study.

Through its community engagement arm, One Great Community, the CCTS is expanding its outreach by taking successful community-based participatory research approaches to a regional scale.

As they worked so hard to frame it, we don’t mind borrowing from the CCTS’s recent NIH application, which asserts the following:

“Clinical and translational research enables exciting possibilities for impact on the health and well-being of the communities we serve. The CCTS and its Partner Network are poised to spearhead these efforts while enhancing the clinical and translational mission of the CTSA consortium and positively influencing health and healthcare delivery throughout the nation.”