$35 Million in NIH Funding Launches Health Research Accelerator

Rush is helping lead a new health research accelerator that has launched in the Chicago area thanks to nearly $35 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM) will help drive research breakthroughs and bring those discoveries into the real world to improve health as soon as possible. The Rush community can explore opportunities and get involved at chicagoitm.org.

“Our consortium covers a broad part of the Chicago area, as well as millions of patients,” says Joshua Jacobs, MD, one of three ITM principal investigators. Jacobs is vice provost for research at Rush University and chairperson of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Rush University Medical Center.

“Our network of investigators is going to work together to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of translational research, with the ultimate goal being to implement research findings from our laboratories and clinical studies to help improve the health and wellbeing of individuals in the Chicago area and beyond.”

The ITM is a partnership between Rush and the University of Chicago in collaboration with Advocate Health Care, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University Chicago, and NorthShore University HealthSystem. This consortium is fueled by millions of dollars in funding from the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) over the next five years to help researchers, the public, government, industry, and nonprofits work together to improve the health of the entire Chicago area.

“It takes a lot of work to establish these collaborative networks,” says Jacobs. “This gives us the chance to be a major player and participant in a national network of researchers and have an even greater impact on the treatment and prevention of human disease.” 

It currently takes an average of 14 years to get new treatments made and to the public, according to the NIH. The ITM will work to cut down that timeline and turn research findings into real-world uses.

The ITM will offer participating faculty and staff research funding, specialized facilities, discounted rates, connections to local and national collaborators, and other resources.

The ITM is part of a network of more than 55 hubs across the country supported by NCATS’ Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program, bringing both local and national educational, funding, and other opportunities to the Rush community.

Those opportunities extend beyond campus. Nonprofit organizations, West Side neighborhoods, and others across the Chicago area will be able to partner with researchers from all six Chicago ITM institutions to build studies, make discoveries, and raise awareness about the health areas they care about the most.

The ITM will help those solutions extend beyond the lab by providing connections to its network of partners, which includes industry, startup accelerators, venture capital firms, government agencies, patient advocacy groups, and others.

One such partner is the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). The ITM will collaborate to address Chicagoans’ health needs identified in the City’s Healthy Chicago 2.0 report.

“The City of Chicago is very excited about this partnership and how it will directly impact the health needs of our communities,” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, MD “We’ve put a lot of time and resources into identifying the problems, and this partnership will help address the problems with dynamic solutions. Being part of this team will help us make sure those solutions are backed by science and created with input from both the experts and the residents who are impacted by it.”

Patients and families will also benefit from being at the cutting edge of medicine so that they can take advantage of breakthroughs as soon as possible.

“The goal is to create broad-based research networks where we can effectively and rapidly answer clinically-important questions,” Jacobs said.

The ITM coverage region includes more than 9.4 million people across the Chicago area in the following counties: Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kendall, Will, Peoria, Woodford, McLean, Livingston, Kankakee, Winnebago, DeKalb, and McHenry in Illinois, as well as Lake County, Indiana. 
 
As part of its mission to make health research accessible to everyone, the ITM will build an online portal for patients, families, health care providers, and others to easily search and find participation opportunities. It also will connect people with researchers working in disease areas they care about the most to work hand-in-hand creating studies that can change their lives or those of their loved ones.

Learn more and meet your ITM-Rush leaders at chicagoitm.org. You also can connect with the ITM on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn @ChicagoITM.

This project is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through Grant Numbers UL1TR002389, KL2TR002387, and TL1TR00238 that fund the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

For More Information Contact:
Sara Serritella
Director of Communications
Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM)
sara@chicagoitm.org