Collaboration offers NIH Clinical Center resources to Damon Runyon clinical investigators

December 21, 2010

A new pilot partnership between the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, the National Cancer Institute's Center for Cancer Research, and the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation will offer some of the capabilities and expertise of America's research hospital to an external group of clinical investigators in cancer research. The special talent and resources of the NIH will allow Damon Runyon-funded investigators to undertake studies and collaborations that will advance understanding of the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.

Damon Runyon Clinical Investigators (DRCIs) are early career physician-scientists whose focus is on the translation of basic science discoveries into practical therapies. Since 1946, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation has invested more than $230 million in early career cancer researchers who have the energy, drive, and creativity to become leading innovators in their fields.

"Thanks to the new three-component partnership, these young investigators can apply to use certain equipment, facilities, and patient cohorts at the Clinical Center in research collaborations with NIH clinician-scientists," said John I. Gallin, M.D., Clinical Center director.

An approved research proposal could also provide access to select research materials, services, or products that may not be available or possible at their home institutions -- such as products from the Pharmacy Department's Pharmaceutical Development Facility -- through arrangements with the Clinical Center but without a formal research collaboration with a specific institute.

If the pilot proves successful, the NIH and the Clinical Center may pursue similar partnerships with other NIH institutes and centers and external organizations.

"This is a first step toward opening the doors of the Clinical Center to a new band of clinician-scientists, further supporting the NIH mission to enhance health and reduce the burden of disease," said Gallin. The partnership allows DRCIs to partner with an NIH-tenured or tenure-track investigator on a research project. If the NIH research partner is not identified independently, the DRCI can submit a research proposal to the National Cancer Institute and the Clinical Center for assistance in naming a suitable collaborator.

A scientist applying for a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Clinical Investigator Award could apply with a mentor from the National Cancer Institute or another NIH institute or center. The application would identify the research to be done and the resources used at the Clinical Center.

"We are thrilled to offer these opportunities and resources to the clinical investigators we fund," said Lorraine Egan, executive director of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. To facilitate these partnerships, the Clinical Center and the National Cancer Institute's Center for Cancer Research will create an annually updated portfolio of ongoing research and of the research interests of NIH investigators.

In addition to scientific collaborations, this pilot partnership will provide interested DRCIs opportunities to participate in the Clinical Center's clinical research training curriculum. Courses are Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Clinical Research, Principles of Clinical Pharmacology, and Ethical and Regulatory Aspects of Clinical Research. Furthermore, DRCIs are invited to apply to the Clinical Center Sabbatical in Clinical Research Management.
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To accelerate breakthroughs, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation (http://www.damonrunyon.org/) provides today's best young scientists with funding to pursue innovative research. The Foundation has gained worldwide prominence in cancer research by identifying outstanding researchers and physician-scientists. Eleven scientists supported by the Foundation have received the Nobel Prize, and others are heads of cancer centers and leaders of renowned research programs. Since its founding in 1946, the Foundation has invested over $230 million and funded more than 3,250 early career scientists.

The NIH Clinical Center (CC) is the clinical research hospital for the National Institutes of Health. Through clinical research, physician-investigators translate laboratory discoveries into better treatments, therapies and interventions to improve the nation's health. For more information, visit http://clinicalcenter.nih.gov.

NCI leads the National Cancer Program and the NIH effort to dramatically reduce the burden of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families, through research into prevention and cancer biology, the development of new interventions, and the training and mentoring of new researchers. For more information about cancer, please visit the NCI Web site at http://www.cancer.gov or call NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- The Nation's Medical Research Agency -- includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

CONTACTS

Yung S. Lie, PhD
Scientific Director
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
yung.lie@damonrunyon.org
212.455.0520

Maggie McGuire
Communications Specialist
NIH Clinical Center
mcguirema@nih.gov
301.496.2563

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation

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