Rutgers Institute awarded $39.7M NIH grant to continue clinical and translational science program

The National Institutes of Health recently awarded the Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science more than $39.67 million over seven years to build and improve upon infrastructure that promotes clinical and translational science through the New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science.

The funding will promote translational science, which uses discoveries made in the laboratory, clinic and community to create interventions that improve the health of individuals and populations — from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral health interventions.

The funding, which became active May 1, will enable NJ ACTS to expand and improve its statewide program that was created in 2019 to quickly translate research discoveries into patient care.

NJ ACTS — led by Rutgers University and including Princeton University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology and RWJBarnabas Health — empowers joint research teams to tackle systemwide scientific and operational problems. The alliance, formed with an initial $29 million in NIH funding in 2019, includes scientists, health care providers, patient advocacy organizations and community members.

“The new $39.7 million NJ ACTS grant marks a pivotal moment for Rutgers Health, providing unprecedented support over seven years to drive clinical translational science forward,” Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian Strom, who leads Rutgers Health, said. “This grant, which was already the first of its kind for New Jersey, amplifies our ability to conduct vital clinical trials and train the next generation of scientists who will ensure New Jersey residents have access to the latest treatments. It aligns perfectly with New Jersey’s status as a global leader in medicine, furthering our commitment to innovation and improving health care outcomes.”

Since the initial award, NJ ACTS has developed an infrastructure of collaboration designed to speed the translation of research discoveries into improved patient care. The effort enables research teams, including scientists, patient advocacy organizations and community members, to tackle systemwide scientific and operational problems in clinical and translational research that no one team can overcome.

“It is inspiring to think about how we were able, as a community, to create alliances among academic institutions and clinical, state and community partners, to further clinical and translational research and training that did not exist in the state prior to our award in 2019,” Reynold Panettieri, vice chancellor for translational medicine and science and director of the Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science, said. “In addition, our partnership with RWJBarnabas Health gave us a great opportunity to expand our clinical research, connecting the basic science research done by our 200-plus investigators to patient care statewide.”

Over the next seven years with the latest round of funding, NJ ACTS also will focus on translating evidence on opioid overdose prevention into practice and continuing to advance machine learning projects and generative artificial intelligence capabilities, building on recent achievements such as the development of algorithms for automated detection of COVID-19 from chest X-rays and detecting adverse responses to medications.