Stanford joins the University of California BRAID health-research alliance

Stanford has joined five University of California campuses to streamline research aimed at improving the health of the nation.

Mark Cullen

Stanford University has joined five University of California campuses in a consortium dedicated to removing administrative barriers to sharing research resources, talent, productivity tools and bioinformatics expertise.

Leaders of the consortium say that by making it easier for research teams to leverage specialized resources and experts across member institutions, overhead costs can be reduced and health care projects can move forward at a more rapid pace, benefiting Californians and the nation at large.

This consortium, launched in 2010 by the University of California Biomedical Research Acceleration, Integration and Development program, called UC BRAID, began with five University of California campuses: Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. Since then, UC BRAID has developed several ways to streamline research processes, including UC ReX Data Explorer, a secure, online system that enables cross-institution access to clinical data from millions of de-identified patient records.

Stanford, the newest member of the consortium, will join new and ongoing efforts to develop tools that help researchers recruit study participants, improve interactions with health care industry partners and speed regulatory approvals.

Mark Cullen, MD, co-director of Spectrum (the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Education) and director of the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences, said he is excited about the research potential to improve care for millions of patients across the state.

“The rich diversity of California’s population will enable us to develop more effective prevention programs and treatments that are precisely targeted to populations according to age, sex and race,” Cullen said.

Harry Greenberg

In addition, all UC BRAID members are working together to comply with the National Institutes of Health mandate that requires that all human-subject protection reviews for federally funded, multisite studies be coordinated through a single institution.

“All of our institutions want research participants to be safe, but all too often minor differences in campus policies hold up clinical trials for months. Working toward a common study review process upfront will mean faster, safer research for all,” said Harry Greenberg, MD, co-director of Spectrum.

Each UC BRAID member is funded by a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the NIH.

Leaders at UC BRAID recently weighed in on what the alliance means to their institutions.

“This type of partnership addresses the present and future needs to leverage resources and to bring knowledge and tools together to help solve the considerable challenges we face in improving the health of all Americans,” Lars Berglund, MD, director of the CTSA at UC-Davis and outgoing chair of UC BRAID, said. “We strongly believe that together, the University of California and Stanford University can point to a partnership that is a powerful national model.”

Steven Dubinett, MD, director of the CTSA at UCLA and incoming chair of UC BRAID, said, “Enhancing our capacity for creative team science across our campuses will afford new opportunities to translate the most important research discoveries to the benefit of all of our communities.”



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