08.10.15

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES: FOLLOWING MEETING WITH NIH DIRECTOR, FEDS HAVE APPROVED UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO’S APPLICATION FOR MAJOR FED FUNDING THAT WILL BE A GAME-CHANGER FOR CANCER RESEARCH IN WNY – $20 MILLION IN FED FUNDS OVER NEXT 5 YEARS WILL ENABLE UB AND ITS PARTNERS TO IMMEDIATELY BEGIN NEW CANCER RESEARCH PROJECTS AND APPLY FOR ADDITIONAL HIGHLY COMPETITIVE FUNDING

The Buffalo Translational Consortium (BTC) Brings Together Medical Professionals From Academia, Clinical and Research Institutions & Other Community Partners, Such as Roswell Park, to Translate Lab Research Into Real-Life Treatments for Patients & Develop Pharmaceutical Treatments for Cancer

 BTC is a Leading Medical Research Institution For All of Buffalo & WNY Region; Consortium, Through UB, Applied for Funding and Designation through NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award to Expand its Internationally Renowned Translational & Cancer Drug Research – Schumer Went to Bat For UB & Pushed NIH To Select WNY

Schumer: NIH Award For $20 Million Over 5 Years Will Be Shot in the Arm for UB, Medical Community & Patients Throughout WNY and the Nation

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has selected the Buffalo Translational Consortium (BTC) to receive its prestigious Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). Schumer said this award will mean $20 million in federal funding over the next five years for UB, beginning with $3,161,454.00 for the first year. Schumer said this will be a game-changer for the regional leader in biomedical research. BTC is comprised of the University at Buffalo (UB) and several Western New York medical and community partners. Schumer explained that BTC, through UB, applied in May for the CTSA through NIH, and will now provide $20 million over 5 years and allow the university and its partners at the major academic, clinical, and research institutions in the Buffalo, NY region to expand their work in translating laboratory and medical research into real-life treatments for patients. It will also allow the consortium to expand its groundbreaking cancer drug development with an internationally recognized clinical trials program. In May, Schumer pushed for the NIH to select Western New York’s application, citing that the expertise of UB’s faculty, combined with the strength of the entire BTC, made the UB-led application well suited to represent the SUNY system on NIH’s national research stage.

“This very substantial federal investment puts UB and Roswell firmly in the major leagues in the life-saving race for better cancer treatments and cures. The world class researchers at UB will translate laboratory and medical research into real-life cancer treatments and solutions for patients. This $20 million in federal funding will allow UB, Roswell and their partners to stand out as a prestigious, internationally renowned and desired medical research institution. I am pleased the NIH Director heeded our call and agreed that this groundbreaking work should be expanded right here in Buffalo,” said Senator Schumer.   

“This prestigious award allows UB to fully leverage—and build upon—the substantial research strength and clinical collaborations we have developed over the years with our partners on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus,” said Satish Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo. “It gives us the ability to realize the value of these collaborations at an even higher and more impactful level—empowering us as we move discoveries from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside, improving patient care, and enhancing economic development in Western New York by successfully commercializing scientific breakthroughs. With this grant, UB will now have the opportunity to compete for the highly selective grants for which only CTSA institutions may apply. We are appreciative of Senator Schumer’s tireless advocacy to ensure that UB can increase our capacity for doing high-impact clinical research, and bring health care innovations to Buffalo so that people in our community can benefit from these groundbreaking studies.”

Schumer explained that UB has an expertise in biomedical informatics and cancer drug development that will now be an invaluable contribution to the national network of institutions that have received CTSA funding. The CTSA program through NIH was designed to promote research that will help reduce the time it takes for laboratory discoveries to translate into patient trials, and ultimately treatments. Schumer said having this funding over the course of 5 years will now allow BTC to apply for competitive funding that is only available to CTSA institutions. UB will be afforded the ability to expand its groundbreaking research and further translate findings found in the laboratory to real-life solutions and treatments for patients, particularly in the fields of cancer pharmaceutical research and biomedical ontology. In May, Schumer pushed for the WNY application to be selected, arguing that such an award would be critical to UB and the development of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, as inclusion in NIH's national CTSA consortium would ensure future access to NIH funding streams and recognition. In June, Schumer continued his push in a personal meeting with Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of NIH.

In addition to current ground-breaking and life-saving research happening at UB, Schumer said Buffalo is well suited to receive this award as New York State’s second-most populous city. Because the city’s distribution of underrepresented minorities who experience health disparities sits at 50 percent, it parallels projected statistics for the United States in 2050 (according to the U.S. Census Bureau). Schumer said Buffalo can be considered a microcosm of the projected future population of our country and the health disparities that need to be addressed. The vision of BTC’s CTSA application entails the development, testing, and sharing of novel approaches to improve health and reduce health disparities in New York State communities, and across the United States.

BTC’s partners in this application include Roswell Park, HWI, UB’s Research Institute on Addictions, UB’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics, UB’s Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, NY State AHEC, Great Lakes Health, UBMD practice plan, UNYNET, HEALTHeLINK, P2 Collaborative and Patient Voices Network.

A copy of Senator Schumer’s initial letter to the director of the National Institutes of Health appears below:

Dear Dr. Francis S. Collins MD PhD:

I write to express support for the Buffalo Translational Consortium’s (BTC) application for a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). BTC comprises the major academic, clinical, and research institutions in the Buffalo, NY region, and this CTSA application is led by the University at Buffalo (UB). UB has an expertise in biomedical informatics that I believe would be an invaluable contribution to the national network of CTSAs.  Furthermore, a CTSA in Buffalo would solidify NIH’s commitment to the State University of New York (SUNY), the country’s largest comprehensive university system, of which UB is a leading institution.

Buffalo is the second-most populous city in New York State, and its distribution of underrepresented minorities who experience health disparities--50%--parallels projected statistics for the United States in 2050 (according to the U.S. Census Bureau). Buffalo is truly a microcosm of the projected future population of our country, and the vision of BTC’s CTSA application entails the development, testing, and sharing of novel approaches to improve health and reduce health disparities in our community, which is representative of the U.S. “population of the future.”

Additionally, the UB-led CTSA award would make substantial contributions toward the goal of reducing the time it takes for laboratory research to translate to real-life treatments for patients, and the award would contribute two unique elements to the national CTSA consortium:

  1. Expertise of an internationally-recognized program in biomedical ontology (including a Ph.D program in ontology): This is particularly relevant because in November 2012 the CTSA consortium formed a new Clinical and Translational Science Ontology Affinity Group in the Informatics Key Function Committee, recognizing the enormous potential that ontology brings to sharing of research data among groups and among disciplines.
  2. Drug Development Service: This will bring together the expertise of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, a BTC member and national leader in cancer drug development with an internationally-recognized phase 1 clinical trials program, with UB’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, which features expertise in pharmacokinetics/pharmacodymics and an internationally-renowned HIV clinical pharmacology program. This service would provide a resource in preclinical and clinical development of novel compounds for the entire CTSA consortium.

SUNY’s reach expands to virtually every corner of New York State. I strongly believe that SUNY’s 460,000 students spanning 64 campuses in its national consortium of clinical and translational research provide a solid platform from which the country would benefit.  The expertise of UB’s faculty, combined with the strength of the entire BTC, makes the UB-led application well-suited to represent the SUNY system on NIH’s national research stage.

Thank you for your consideration of the University at Buffalo’s application for a Clinical and Translational Science Award. 

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

 

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