Ohio approves money for collaboration in medical research

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A statewide collaborative medical research effort got a boost last week.

The Industrial Technology and Enterprise Advisory Council approved $2.27 million for the Ohio Clinical Trials Collaborative. Of that amount, $2 million will go to Case Western Reserve University to lead the effort.

ITEAC is a council within the Ohio Department of Development.

The money will further Gov. John Kasich's Medical Corridor Initiative, which was announced in 2011.

Besides CWRU, other institutions in Ohio taking part include the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, MetroHealth Medical Center, Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati, and the children's hospitals in Cincinnati and Columbus.

"We are pooling our strength in clinical research together, so we can be a destination regionally and nationally in bringing research to the state of Ohio," said Philip Cola, vice president for research and technology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. "We will gain efficiencies in clinical research across the state."

The collaboration began as Kasich's idea for statewide synergy among medical research institutions. It was developed under the leadership of Dr. Pamela Davis, dean of the medical school at Case Western Reserve University.

"We want to build up Ohio as a medical research powerhouse." -- Dr. Pamela Davis, dean of CWRU medical school

The themes fueling the collaborative are speed and efficiency, explained Davis.

"What this means, for example, is that if a research study is approved by an ethics committee at one institution, the other institutions in the collaborative can rely on it too," she said. That means they won't need to replicate it with their own review.

"This speeds things up tremendously and improves the uniformity of studies. And we can tell out of the gate if we have enough patients to participate in the clinical trial."

She added, "We want to build up Ohio as a medical research powerhouse."

Davis said the $2.77 million will be used toward creating secure communication systems among the eight institutions.

In a statement, Kasich said the collaboration will increase the competitiveness of the state's biohealth industry, and "lead to unprecedented medical breakthroughs, attracting companies and innovators to Ohio."

Read the press release from the Governor's office.