ARRA IMPACT REPORT:
Advancing Translational Research


Public Health Burden
Advancing translational research addresses the scientific and technical challenges to reducing, removing, and bypassing bottlenecks in the development of new treatments that will ultimately improve human health.

Advances in Prevention and Screening
A group of ARRA-funded Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) investigators at the Research Imaging Institute, University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas, have adapted high-resolution (3-Tesla) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to image normal and abnormal blood-flow changes in the human retina. Because human blood flow is tightly coupled to metabolic function under normal conditions, it is often perturbed in diseases. This MRI-retina approach could provide unique insights into retinal physiology/pathophysiology and serve as an objective imaging biomarker for cost-effective disease management and drug development including accurate disease staging, targeted treatment, and testing of novel therapeutic strategies. This approach could also open up new avenues of retinal research.1

Expanded Access to Research Resources
ARRA funding to the University of Pittsburgh CTSA has established the Vascular Clinical and Translational Research Center (VCTRC)2 to provide resources and infrastructure to support investigators involved in the comprehensive assessment of human peripheral blood flow and other vascular. The VCTRC provides capabilities for a comprehensive assessment of pulmonary and peripheral endothelial function, blood flow, hard-to-detect atherosclerotic disease, and right heart function in human subjects enrolled in clinical research studies. It provides access to study design assistance, equipment, technical expertise, internal and external collaborations, and data analysis. The Pittsburgh CTSA successfully engaged new investigators to use the facilities of the VCTRC and have added vascular studies to other active protocols that would otherwise not study vascular endpoints. Researchers in the areas of emergency medicine, rheumatology, critical care medicine, and psychiatry have also used the VCTRC for their collaborative studies.

Contributing NIH Institutes & Centers

  • National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
  • National Eye Institute (NEI)

  1. 3UL1RR025767-02S3, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21590806 - CLARK, ROBERT A - UNIV OF TX HSC, SA - SAN ANTONIO - TX
  2. 3UL1RR024153-04S3 - REIS, STEVEN E - UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH AT PITTSBURGH - PITTSBURGH - PA