Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

The Investigator's Catch-22: How Can NHLBI Help?

The Critical Challenge is to determine how NHLBI can continue to foster the translational research necessary to allow our researchers to further develop their NHLBI-funded basic science discoveries. Researchers can't readily get a "typical" grant to perform the preclinical and early clinical translational IND-enabling research, and also can't yet attract private sector support without having done the work to "de-risk" that discovery. Therefore, an investigator wishing to further develop that discovery is often caught in a "Catch-22" situation.

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Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Ensuring that NHLBI-funded researchers have the means to further develop promising research discoveries will ensure that NHLBI continues to fulfill its Mission. Providing funding or resources to move basic science discoveries from the lab towards the clinic can expand the research environments, opportunities, and collaborations available to NHLBI investigators and lead to potential new therapies for heart, lung, and blood diseases.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Just as research project itself can take years, if not decades, to accomplish, so too can a cultural shift in our extramural research community. While one may have a different understanding of what constitutes "translational" research depending upon his or her vantage point, in reality it is bi-directional (from bench to bedside and back to bench) and offers possibilities for a wide range of researchers. Engaging established basic scientists in translational research can open new opportunities to them, and younger researchers are likely more familiar and well-poised for new research paradigms and collaborative efforts such as those afforded by the translational development process.

Basic discovery science is appropriately the backbone of the NHLBI extramural research program. But, for any basic science discovery to have a meaningful impact on human health, it must be "translated from the bench to the bedside." These next steps in translation involve a tremendous amount of research that is not amenable to hypothesis-driven grant mechanisms like an R01 or P01. Without access to funding support for early-stage translational work, investigators can be stymied and NHLBI-funded basic science discoveries can languish.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Idea No. 185