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Roadmap Initiative Shifts Focus

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is launching an effort under its Roadmap for Medical Research to develop translation and clinical research sciences as a discipline. The effort comes in the wake of the revocation of the October 1, 2004, request for applications (RFA) to fund Regional Translation Research Centers. The RFA was cancelled on May 2, 2005, after receiving feedback from academic health center deans and reviewing the recommendations of an Institute of Medicine report. The feedback indicated that such a plan would be only a half-measure and would fall short of the fundamental shift envisioned in the Roadmap.

On May 23, 2005, the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) invited several hundred members of the clinical and translational research community to participate in a meeting to learn about the new opportunities being considered by the NIH and to solicit suggestions on how the NIH can foster the clinical and translational sciences into a new academic discipline, promote the training and career pathways of clinical and translational investigators, allow for the more comprehensive integration and expansion of resources for clinical and translational research, and improve interinstitutional collaborations. NIH programming staff and administrators are still working through comments from that meeting, as well as feedback gathered on the meeting's Web site, to determine the best way to go forward.

NCRR Acting Director Barbara Alving noted that the type of translational research being focused on was preclinical research that would use animal models and laboratory research that could be taken into clinical trials. Although also an essential part of translational research, the subsequent step from clinical research to dissemination is not what will be focused on.

Funds from the revoked RFA for Regional Translation Research Centers will be used to support the program as it again takes shape.

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