AUSTIN—The University of Texas System has launched a groundbreaking clinical trials network to ensure drugs and therapies developed by researchers at UT institutions get to patients faster and are effective.
Clinical Trials Xpress will coordinate clinical trials among multiple institutions to bring access to more patients than any single institution can provide. This will shorten the time it typically takes to complete a clinical trial.
Clinical trials are critical to determining whether a drug or treatment is safe and effective for patients before the new therapies can be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval. After years of development in the lab and testing in animals, clinical trials are the final proving ground where drug discoveries are tested for effectiveness in human patients.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for UT System researchers and industry partners to accelerate the translation of new pharmaceuticals and treatments into clinical care. It responds to an increasing need in the U.S. for collaboration between academia and industry,” said Patricia Hurn, Ph.D., UT System’s vice chancellor for research and innovation. “Clinical Trials Xpress will further establish The UT System and its institutions as world-class leaders in clinical research.”
Clinical Trial Xpress is funded by the UT System Board of Regents and created in collaboration with the Texas Regional CTSA Consortium (TRCC), a System-wide consortium of National Institutes of Health-funded Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) programs.
Initial partnering institutions include UT Medical Branch at Galveston, UTHealth in Houston, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center and UT Southwestern Medical Center. As the network develops, additional UT institutions will be included.
"Clinical Trials Xpress is a novel way that multiple UT institutions can effectively compete for high impact clinical trials by bringing a single institutional review board, common contracting and standardized implementation programs to the table,” said David McPherson, M.D., chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at UTHealth in Houston. “This program drops most major barriers to university participation in important clinical research that can be translated for better patient care."
A central coordinating office will be located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston and will work closely with each institution’s clinical trials office and other campus offices associated with clinical research.
“Clinical Trials Xpress will provide a network to test the efficacy of drugs and therapies developed at The UT System’s research institutions, while decreasing the time it takes to reach patients who need them the most,” said Robert Toto, M.D., associate dean and translational science professor at UT Southwestern Medical School.
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and an enrollment of more than 214,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $15.6 billion (FY 2015) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 90,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.