The Clinical &Translational Research Center (CTRC), established in 1990 and rated Outstanding in the 2008 CCSG review, focuses on new drug development. This comprehensive 18-bed combined treatment and laboratory unit serves as the primary site for personalized, protocol-based, innovative clinical and translational research. Services provided are research infrastructure and oversight as well as 24-hour phlebotomy/lab support for pharmacologic testing. Other services include specialized processing for DNA and RNA analysis, real-time internet-based tracking of audit time-points, EKG monitoring, and a highly effective "just-in-time" system for the myriad protocol-specific sample kits required for collection and shipping to reference laboratories around the world. The institutionally-funded $1.2 million renovation and relocation in June 2009 was a major CTRC enhancement. The CTRC has averaged 1,400 patient visits monthly since that time. The CTRC, with its annual budget of $3.8 million, has implemented a robust proprietary Oracle based computerized laboratory tracking system (LabTracker) that eliminates work duplication and substantially reduces handwritten and transcribed data. The LabTracker database and billing system, fully implemented in 2010, contains 67,400 specimens or time points. LabTracker provides real-time accounting and has revolutionized the research finance component of the CTRC with 98% charge capture efficiency of invoiced charges in 2011. Of the 177 total protocols in FY2011, 73 studies (42%) were initiated or significantly influenced by an MD Anderson investigator, including: 19 (11%) investigator initiated (institutional) trials, 5 (3%) national cooperative group trials, 9 (5%) external peer reviewed and 41 (23%) industry trials. Publications cited using the CTRC have appeared in N Eng J Med, Lancet Oncology and Nature. Institutional support for the CTRC staff and equipment amounts to over $2 million annually. CCSG funding supports 5.4% of the total budget, and these funds are leveraged to support critical research studies that could not be conducted otherwise. Future plans include full implementation of the philanthropically supported Advanced Research Management And Data Analysis Project (ARMADA), which provides daily step by step protocol guidance using an innovative color-icon touch-screen display of all required protocol activities for all patients in the CTRC. Another major Initiative will be collaborative research in conjunction with the UT Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) to study important clinical issues such as the neuro-cognitive and cardiac electro-physiologic effects of new agents.
The CTRC is the primary site of new drug studies for cancer and related diseases, and since 2007 it has activated 274 protocols - including many first-in-man studies. Seventeen (17) drugs approved by the FDA since 2007 were studied in Phase I or II trials in the CTRC. NIH Cooperative Group and NCI protocols represented 11% of studies activated during the grant period and MD Anderson investigator initiated studies comprised 5%. Of the total 4,057 protocol registrations, NIH peer-reviewed studies accounted for 531 (13%).
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