A major grant from the National Institutes of Health will further boost LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center — but the NIH grant also will help leverage scientific and clinical medicine in a range of institutions across the state.
The new initiative has been worked by Pennington for several years, seeking to pull together the efforts of institutions beyond the Perkins Road center, and not only its LSU hospital and medical school partners but Tulane and Xavier universities and Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, not to mention scientists at LSU’s main campus just down the road.
This is a significant grant from NIH: $20 million over five years.
The goal is not only to bridge gaps between institutions so that scientists can work seamlessly together on related projects, but also to provide a large pool of patients who could benefit from participation in large-scale clinical trials of new medicines or diets.
Because of the potential pool of clinics and patients associated with LSU, Tulane and other partners, “that’s going to be a huge advantage to us,” said Dr. William Cefalu, associate executive director of clinical research at Pennington.
Clinical trials for new medicines or treatments for chronic diseases are not only vital to bringing the work of the laboratory to bear on our problems here in Louisiana — particularly diabetes and obesity — but trials might well bring in significant financial participation from global pharmaceutical companies.
Pennington has become more prominent, both nationally and internationally in recent years, but this grant holds the potential for helping overcome another chronic disease in Louisiana, institutionalitis, or the “silo disease.” That syndrome is reflected in the tendency of otherwise intelligent people quarreling over funding and credit in institutional silos instead of working together.
With Pennington at the center, as an honest broker among the public and private institutions involved, the entire enterprise of science and clinical research and development may benefit.
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