A Medical Device Daily

Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC; Charleston, South Carolina) reported that it been awarded the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a coveted Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA). The NIH will grant a total of 60 CTSAs through 2012 to round out this exclusive network.

MUSC, and thus the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute (SCTR; also Charleston) that the CTSA supports, are scheduled to receive $20 million in research funding during the next five years.

The CTSA not only enables MUSC to play a larger, national role in improving the lives of patients across a spectrum of diseases, but also provides economic opportunities for South Carolina.

Moving forward in an unprecedented economic climate and in addition to jobs created directly from the CTSA, research and clinical success from CTSA will beget more biotechnology transfer and spin-off companies and contributions to the knowledge-based economy taking root in South Carolina.

In other grant news: A new electronic tool that will put family medical history at doctors' fingertips –alerting them to a patient's increased risk for birth defects or pregnancy complications – will be developed through a three-year cooperative agreement with a $1.2 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Genetic Services Branch (Washington).

Patients in doctors' offices will fill out a standardized family history questionnaire using a computerized tablet, instead of paper and pen. The information will be analyzed electronically, and the tool will provide red flags and recommendations for healthcare providers based on current professional guidelines. Providers may be prompted to ask more questions or to send a woman to a genetic specialist.