Dr. Harry Shamoon, right, is director of the Einstein-Montefiore Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. Dr. Brian Currie, left, is co-director.

May 29, 2008 — The National Institutes of Health has awarded Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center one of its coveted Clinical and Translational Science Awards totaling $22 million over five years. The grant will support the new Einstein-Montefiore Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR), whose overarching goal is to collaboratively expedite the transfer of research discoveries at Einstein and Montefiore to patient care.

“With this award, Einstein and Montefiore join an elite group of biomedical research institutions, now comprising 38 academic health centers in the nation,” said Dr. Allen M. Spiegel, The Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean of Einstein. “The goal of this nationwide consortium is to revolutionize how clinical and translational research is conducted, enabling researchers to provide new treatments more quickly to patients. Translational research in the genome era can fundamentally change the way medicine is practiced.”

“This prestigious grant will provide resources and the stimulus for our clinical and research teams at Montefiore and Einstein to refocus long-existing collaborative programs in cancer, heart, diabetes and other devastating conditions,” said Dr. Steven Safyer, president and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center. “Our goal is to work together to develop new therapies, such as stem cell transplantation and novel surgical methods so we can offer unique treatment options to our patients.”

“Translational medicine” is the concept, encouraged by the NIH in recent years, that the traditional bench-to-bedside approach to finding therapies is really a two-way street. Basic scientists provide clinicians with new tools for use with their patients and for an assessment of their impact, and clinical researchers make novel observations about the nature and progression of disease in patients that often stimulates basic investigations. The grant awarded to Einstein and Montefiore is a result of this new NIH initiative recognizes and promotes the collaborative and synergistic nature of the research being done by integrated teams from both organizations.

The grant will support the development of new methods and approaches to clinical and translational research; improve training and mentoring to ensure that new investigators can navigate the increasingly complex research system; design new and improved clinical research informatics tools; assemble interdisciplinary teams that cover the complete spectrum of medical research; and, forge new partnerships with private and public healthcare organizations.

“Joint participation in the Institute by Einstein and Montefiore will also cultivate critical partnerships with New York City’s Department of Health and its Bronx District Public Health Office, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and with regional colleges and universities — ultimately leading to improved human health,” says Dr. Harry Shamoon, director of the Institute and Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research at Einstein. “Within clinical medicine, we plan to use the funds to foster a range of new research, such as expediting clinical trials in breast and colon cancer; developing advanced methods of treating congestive heart failure; and, encouraging preventative programs in diabetes.”

“On a patient care level, the newly-created Institute provides an unprecedented opportunity to more rapidly develop treatments and cures for the most important health problems confronting society,” said Dr. Brian Currie, co-director of the Institute, Vice President and Medical Director for Research at Montefiore, and Assistant Dean for Clinical Research at Einstein. “And on an operational level, this partnership between Einstein and Montefiore will create a centralized infrastructure to integrate the computerized information systems and research databases at our two institutions.”

“Ideally, translational medicine functions as a two-way street, with laboratory findings leading to clinical benefits but also with information gained in the clinic and in the field feeding back into basic research. We have an exciting challenge ahead of us in enhancing the flow of information from the population and clinical sciences back to the laboratory,” said Dr. Paul Marantz, co-director of the Institute and Associate Dean for Clinical Research Education at Einstein.