Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NCATS a Reality

On Sept. 14, FasterCures’ Executive Director Margaret Anderson joined fellow leaders in medical research for the first meeting of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) AdvisoryCouncil and the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN) Review Board. FasterCures has been a strong supporter of the establishment of NCATS and CAN and their goal of saving time and effort in the pursuit and conduct of medical research and development across disease areas.

The NCATS Advisory Council is made up of 18 appointed members, and the CAN Review Board is comprised of 24 appointed members. They will both meet on a regular basis to provide guidance, consult, and makes recommendations to improve the translation of basic science into clinical application.

The meeting began with an overview of NCATS’ mission and its role in translational research at NIH, budget details, recent science advances, and major center milestones. Then NIH Director Francis Collins announced Christopher P. Austin as the first NCATS director. "There is no way any one scientific discipline can accomplish what we want to do; we only can be successful if we do this together," Austin said.

The meeting also included a brief history of CAN’s establishment, its functions, and its activities. “Collaboration, coordination, communication, and policy all will play a crucial role in our work to advance new treatments and cures for patients,” emphasized Freda Lewis-Hall, CAN Review Board chair.

The Division of Clinical Innovation led presentations focused on the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program and participated in a discussion of its goals, achievements, and coordination. Austin delivered the final presentation of the day, which focused on the Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation.

In response to a question from a council member about getting medicines to patients faster, Austin replied: “Through the CTSAs. Combining the power of these two groups, we can do some magical things."

Relevant Resources on NCATS and CAN:

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