RTI International, UNC and partners receive NIH Clinical & Translational Science Award renewal

Award enables innovative scientific research in North Carolina

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC RTI International joins the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and other partners who recently received renewal of a five-year Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program that helps accelerate research to improve the health of North Carolina residents.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded UNC-Chapel Hill $58.1 million as a renewal award, along with RTI and N.C. A&T and a new partner, North Carolina State University, who will help to increase the program’s impact and scope. The partners will closely collaborate and leverage their institutional strengths in leading-edge research, education and health care to bring biomedical innovations to patients and communities in North Carolina, focusing on the areas of greatest unmet medical need.

“RTI is pleased and proud to continue our collaboration with UNC-Chapel Hill and our partners at the North Carolina Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute to advance the health and well-being of North Carolinians,” said Wayne Holden, PhD, president and CEO of RTI International.  “This renewal grant enables us to advance translational science in North Carolina and execute on our mission—to improve the human condition by turning research into practice.”

Since 2006, the CTSA program has assisted innovative research teams to speed discovery and advance science aimed at improving the nation’s health. At the core of the program are institutional CTSA awards that provide academic hubs for translational sciences. The program now supports a consortium of over 50 academic medical institutions that foster team science, leverage national resources and transform the conduct of biomedical research nation-wide.

“This major award is good news for the health of all North Carolinians,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Vice Chancellor for Research Terry Magnuson, PhD. “It supports a critical pipeline that takes the latest scientific discoveries in our university labs and moves them into practice, leading to new treatments and new drugs that improve and save lives.”

Features of this new grant include funding for the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute, now regarded as the central entity on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus responsible for the advancement of clinical and translational research. Since its start in 2008, NC TraCS has fundamentally changed the clinical and translational research landscape at UNC and across the state, with outreach efforts touching each of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

During the previous five-year funding period, NC TraCS worked with over 350 practices, 130 community-based organizations, 88 percent of other CTSA hubs, and many non-CTSA universities, through pilot awards or other initiatives. 

In the new grant period, NC TraCS will continue to move scientific advances from the laboratory into clinical practice quickly. Through its 4D (Drugs, Devices, and Diagnostics Development) Program, it will focus on shortening the development pipeline and increasing the number of companies created so that important new products can go to market more quickly.

“RTI, working with UNC and partners, has helped to advance scientific discovery in the development of new treatments, interventions to help people live healthier lives and a better understanding of the human experience of disease,” said Don Bailey, RTI Distinguished Fellow and the principal investigator of the RTI site. “We are delighted to continue and expand upon this good work with UNC and our partners as it does so much to improve human health, both nationally and within North Carolina.”