Sixteen Million Euro to Accelerate the Translation of Highly Promising Medical Research Into Clinical Care

By The Center For Translational Molecular Medicine ctmm, PRNE
Sunday, October 2, 2011

EINDHOVEN, The Netherlands, October 3, 2011 -

The Center for Translational Molecular Medicine (CTMM), the Netherlands’ Top Institute for research in molecular techniques for the early diagnosis and treatment of especially cardiovascular disease and cancer, today announced the launch of a new 16 million Euro project called TraIT (Translational research IT). This important new addition to the CTMM project portfolio aims to develop a long-lasting IT infrastructure for translational medicine that will facilitate the collection, storage, analysis, archiving, sharing and securing of the data generated in the CTMM’s operational translational research projects. The TraIT project will build on existing expertise to create an IT infrastructure that will help to accelerate the translational research in the Dutch Life Sciences and Health sector. A research environment will be created to expedite new discoveries and innovations to improve the medical care for patients. The TraIT project is a joint initiative between CTMM, Dutch Cancer Society, Dutch Heart Foundation, the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centers (NFU), the Netherlands Bioinformatics Centre (NBIC), the String of Pearls Initiative (PSI) and the Netherlands eScience Center (NLeSC).

“With several CTMM projects rapidly approaching the point where large-scale clinical studies need to be performed, the TraIT project will facilitate the necessary standardization and sharing of data across the different medical centers, research institutions and industrial partners involved,” says Professor Peter Luijten, CTMM’s Chief Scientific Officer. “It will also archive and secure the data in such a way that it is accessible to future generations of researchers so that the Netherlands can remain at the leading edge of translational medical research for years to come.”

Professor Gerrit Meijer, Chair of the Department of Pathology at the VU University Medical Center and Principal Investigator of the project: “TraIT specifically is user driven and process oriented, to make translational research work. In addition we want to avoid reinventing wheels, but instead build upon existing initiatives, while working in close collaboration with the NFU and capitalizing on the ICT infrastructure for biomedical research built by the Netherlands Bioinformatics Centre and the String of Pearls initiative”.

Michel Rudolphie, director of the Dutch Cancer Society says: “It is the aim of the Dutch Cancer Society to ensure that patients benefit as quickly as possible from new knowledge gleaned from scientific research. Translational research is the bridge from scientific results to new clinical applications. The Dutch Cancer Society supports the TraIT project of CTMM and believes that this project improves the infrastructure of (translational) cancer research in the Netherlands.”

Hans Stam, director of the Dutch Heart Foundation says: “Combining results from various studies offers a wealth of new information and scientific conclusions, which accelerates the translation of highly promising medical cardiovascular research into clinical care. Many patients are anxious for new treatments. The Dutch Heart Foundation already endorses the cardiovascular research projects of the CTMM. The TraIT project will further improve patient outcomes resulting from the CTMM research. Hopefully it will also enhance patient outcomes resulting from other translational research. We hope many cardiovascular patients will benefit from this project.”

Long-term academic and economic advantages

The phenomenal size and variability of the datasets produced in CTMM projects, ranging from -omics, imaging, laboratory and clinical datasets, and their distribution over the many different research partners involved, requires an informatics infrastructure that allows for the seamless integration and sharing of large amounts of new and legacy data as well as complex data analysis. The CTMM has already set the benchmark for multi-site multi-disciplinary cooperation in translational medical research and aims to repeat that success by providing infrastructure tools that will ultimately be of benefit beyond the CTMM community. In particular, these benefits will include the long-term academic and economic advantages of securing datasets relating to large patient cohorts so that they can be data mined by future generations of researchers. At the moment, researchers often have to cope with disparate resources (for example, databases, websites, tools and algorithms), each covering a small section of the required research space and frequently conforming to different standards. As a result, they find it difficult to fully interact with and use all the relevant data. There is therefore a real need for greater standardization in data formats, more efficient tool sets and easier ways of accessing and sharing data.

The TraIT project will initially focus on the seamless integration and querying of information across the four major domains of CTMM’s translational research - clinical data, imaging data, biobanking and genomics/proteomics data. Much of the development will be performed in collaboration with groups at the global and European level such as NCI caBIG® (the USA National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid).

More information can also be found at our website:

For more information: Marjoke Kortas, CTMM Communications manager, T +31-40-800-23-03 / M +31-6-29-40-97-70 / E marjoke.kortas at

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