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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently awarded nearly $4 million in support of 19 bench-to-bedside research projects, with the goal of speeding the production of new medical treatments from promising laboratory discoveries. The bench-to-bedside research program originated at the NIH Clinical Center as a way to foster collaborations between basic scientists in the laboratories and clinical investigators working with the patients. NIH Director Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni said that the bench-to-bedside research program is exemplary of the commitment of the NIH to “transforming medicine through discovery.” This type of award was first given in 1999, and competition for the most recent awards, for the first time ever, was open to research teams consisting of NIH intramural and extramural collaborators from medical schools, health care organizations, and private industry. This year also marks the first year that projects in minority health and health disparities and women's health have been specifically funded. Selection criteria for the awards included the quality of the science, the potential for becoming an active clinical trial, and the possibility of offering a novel medical treatment or increased understanding of an important disease process. Eight teams were awarded funds for research focusing on rare diseases: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), NIH Clinical Center, Harvard University, Georgetown University Medical Center, and National Naval Medical Center; NHLBI, NIH Clinical Center, and Walter Reed Army Medical Center; NHLBI and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, with associate investigators from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the Medical College of Virginia; National Cancer Institute (NCI) and NHLBI, with associate investigators from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; NCI, with associate investigators from the University of Southern California, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University, the Fred …
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