05.22.17

SCHUMER REVEALS: NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH CUTS FEDERAL AWARD FOR UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO BY TEN PERCENT; SCHUMER CALLS ON NIH TO IMMEDIATELY RESTORE FUNDING FOR LIFE-SAVING MEDICAL RESEARCH IN WNY

In 2015, The University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute Was Awarded A Prestigious Four-Year, $16 Million NIH Funding Award, But Its FY2017 Award Was Just Cut By 10% Due to Budgetary Concerns 

Schumer Says Just-Passed Federal Budget Provides $2B Increase to NIH; With Increase in Overall Funds, Senator Urges NIH to Reverse Cuts to the UB CTSI Award 

Schumer: NIH Needs To Restore Funding For UB CTSI So Researchers Can Continue Ground-Breaking Cancer Research

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today called on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to reverse cuts to a federal funding award provided to the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). The University at Buffalo-led consortium, which performs life-saving medical research in WNY, was awarded the four-year NIH award in 2015. However, just recently the FY 2017 award was reduced by ten percent due to speculation that the NIH funding would be significantly reduced based on the administration’s proposed funding request. Schumer pointed to the just-passed federal spending bill, which provided a $2 billion boost to NIH, and said that NIH should immediately restore CTSI’s funds.  

“The cutting-edge and life-saving cancer research conducted by this University at Buffalo-led consortium suffered a harmful budget cut from NIH. But now that we in Congress have passed a new budget agreement – that increases support for research and science – the NIH must make the Buffalo Translation Consortium whole ASAP,” said Senator Schumer.  “The University at Buffalo Clinical Translational Science Institute is leading the way in medical research and in biomedical informatics and we should invest in it, not cut it. The NIH must review and fully-fund this award so that BTC has the resources it needs to continue its work translating lab research into real-life treatments for patients.”

“A fully funded CTSI award gives UB the ability to realize the value of these collaborations at the highest level. The purposeful intent of the CTSA program is to move discoveries from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside, improve patient care and enhance economic development in Western New York by successfully commercializing scientific breakthroughs. A significant cut in funding will impede the Buffalo CTSI’s program goal: to create transformational impact on patient care,” Satish K. Tripathi, President, University at Buffalo.

In 2015, the UB CTSI was granted a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) of $16 million over 4 years. During its annual noncompeting review, NIH reduced the UB CTSI FY2017 award by ten percent due to uncertain funding levels NIH. Schumer said if sustained, this reduction has the potential to stall important medical progress and would create an unnecessary burden on the consortium as it continues to develop various components of its research.

Schumer explained that UB’s expertise in biomedical informatics and cancer drug development has provided invaluable contributions to the national network of institutions that receive CTSA funding. The CTSA program was designed to promote research that will help reduce the time it takes for laboratory discoveries to translate into patient trials, and ultimately treatments for cancer and other diseases. In August 2015, Schumer met with NIH Director and succeeded in pushing the Federal agency to approve UB’s CTSA application. As a result of this funding, UB and the consortium have been able to expand groundbreaking research in a range of fields, including cancer pharmaceutical research and biomedical ontology.

Schumer said that the recently passed federal spending bill provided a boost of $2 billion to NIH. As a result, Schumer is calling on NIH to reevaluate UB’s funding for FY2017. Schumer argued any cuts to this funding will stall the UB CTSI’s efforts to conduct ground-breaking and life-saving research.

The UB CTSI is comprised of major academic, clinical, and research institutions in the Buffalo region. CTSI’s partners in this application include Roswell Park, Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute, 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. BTC’s CTSA funding was secured by UB, which has internationally recognized expertise in biomedical informatics and provides invaluable contributions to the national network of CTSAs. The UB-led CTSA award has made substantial contributions to reducing the time it takes for laboratory research to turn into real-life treatment for patients.

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

Dear Dr. Collins:

I write to request that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) expeditiously review the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) noncompeting Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). As you know, the lead institution, University of Buffalo (UB), has invaluable expertise in biomedical informatics which contributes to the national network of CTSAs.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, the UB CTSI successfully applied for a four-year award and is currently beginning its third year of funding. This particular UB-led CTSA is working to reduce the amount of time it takes to translate research from laboratory development to treatment for the patient. By leveraging resources from its internationally recognized programs, CTSI is developing mechanisms to provide preclinical and clinical development of novel compounds for the entire CTSA consortium.

Unfortunately, during its annual noncompeting review, the FY2017 award was reduced by ten percent due to budgetary concerns within the NIH. If sustained, this reduction has the potential to stall important progress and has created a burden on the consortium as it continues developing the various components if its research, such as the bio-repository project.

As you know, congress recently passed the FY2017 omnibus appropriations bill which included a $2 billion increase for the NIH. This increase is the next a step toward prioritizing robust, predictable research funding across the country. It is crucial that UB CTSI’s most recent award returns to its full funding so that the consortium may continue its ground-breaking research without significant disruption.

I implore you to promptly reevaluate of UB CTSI’s FY2017 noncompeting award so that it may continue its substantial contribution to translational research.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

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