NIH funds two new biomedical technology resource centers

December 15, 2005

The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today that $18.2 million will be awarded to create two new biomedical technology resource centers to develop new image guided therapies and to further biochemistry studies of diseases such as alcoholism and cancer.

Brigham and Women's Hospital of Boston will receive $15 million over five years in a cooperative agreement to establish a national Image Guided Therapy (IGT) Center. The new resource will provide a unique, "one-stop-shopping" research, training, and service center that will develop and make available to scientists and clinicians image processing and display tools; dynamic and adaptive Magnetic Resonance Imaging methods; novel therapy techniques; and image-guided robotics. The funding will allow the IGT Center to expand its range of research areas to include cardiovascular interventions and targeted drug delivery.

"We believe this collaborative, multidisciplinary center will develop innovative image guided intervention technologies that will enable effective, less invasive clinical treatments that are not only more economical, but also produce better results for patients," said Barbara M. Alving, M.D., Acting Director of NCRR.

A portion of the $15 million in NIH support to the IGT resource will come from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

Through the second award, NCRR will provide Indiana University in Bloomington with $3.2 million over three years to launch the National Center for Glycomics and Glycoproteomics to advance the study of carbohydrate molecules. A relatively new field that uses sophisticated tools and methods, glycomics is the study of complex sugar molecules that are attached to many proteins and lipids found in the blood, on the surfaces of cells, and in other places in the human body. These sugar chains are critical to numerous processes from normal growth and development to the body's ability to fight infection. One way these molecules do their jobs is through subtle changes in their structures. A better understanding of these structures, how they work, and how changes in these molecules cause illness or are affected by medicines could lead to the discoveries of new treatments for a multitude of diseases.

"Until recently, glycobiology was an underappreciated and poorly understood discipline. Scientists' increasing ability to create model systems in which carbohydrate-related genes can be easily manipulated is allowing us, for the first time, to understand the function of these molecules in the context of complex systems. This flood of biological information is creating a great demand for analytical tools for the characterization of these systems, and this new center will provide critical resources to address that growing need," according to Michael Marron, Ph.D., NCRR's Director of Biomedical Technology Research and Research Resources.

The center will focus on effective coupling of high resolution molecular separations with mass spectrometry to generate a complete analytical system for high-sensitivity glycoprotein investigations. Its staff will facilitate collaborative investigations of glycoprotein markers associated with cancer and alcoholism; endocrinology-centered studies including fertilization; and comparative research involving plants and animals.

Educational activities will be conducted to disseminate developments in instrumentation and techniques to a wider audience via short courses, a seminar program, and graduate and postdoctoral training.
The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with environments and tools that they can use to prevent, detect, and treat a wide range of diseases. This support enables discoveries that begin at the molecular and cellular level, move to animal-based studies, and then are translated to patient-oriented clinical research, resulting in cures and treatments for both common and rare diseases. NCRR connects researchers with patients and communities across the nation to bring the power of shared resources and research to improve human health. For more information, visit

NIH/National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

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