Indiana University Health announced Tuesday that it will give $75 million in additional funding over the next five years to ramp up research at the Indiana University School of Medicine and launch more clinical trials around the state.
The IU medical school will contribute non-cash resources valued at $75 million toward the new effort, which will focus on research in cancer, cardiology and neuroscience.
The goal of the effort is to expand access to cutting-edge clinical trials to IU Health’s 20 hospitals around the state, as well as to attract the next generation of bright minds to do their research and clinical work in Indiana.
“It does help us to attract the best and brightest of the investigators. There is a benefit to the school and to the health system over all,” said Dr. Eric Williams, executive vice president for academic affairs at IU Health.
IU Health already spends about $16.5 million per year on research, according to a report issued last year. The new initiative will nearly double that amount.
Much of that money goes to the IU medical school, which is a distinct organization from IU Health, but works closely with it. The IU medical school attracts annual research funding from all sources of about $280 million.
The new money will flow to roughly 10 projects, which have already been approved by the IU Health and IU medical school’s boards of directors.
In cancer, the IU medical school will try to recruit enough new researchers to double the amount of funding it currently receives from the National Cancer Institute. Also, by extending its clinical trials to IU Health facilities around the state, IU hopes the cancer center attains the top “comprehensive” status from the National Cancer Institute. It currently holds a status one step below that level.
The IU medical school also intends to launch a center for chemical biology and drug discovery to identify promising targets and experimental compounds to treat cancer.
In cardiology, IU Health wants to recruit a nationally known scientist to launch a research program in cardiovascular genetics. That program would offer genetic testing and counseling at all IU Health sites, as well as study heart failure among patients of all ages.
IU Health and the IU medical school also will fund research on how the genetic makeup of patients affects their responses to specific drugs.
In neuroscience, the new funding will support projects studying brain and spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Huntington disease, Parkinson’s and also developmental disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders and Fragile X syndrome.
Williams said IU Health and the IU medical school selected the three areas of research based on strengths the two institutions already had and where they felt the biggest impact could be made from translating research into advances for patients.
“That was based on the patients that we have, the patients being served, the strengths that we had, and the opportunities that we had to go to the next level,” Williams said.