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Director’s Message, Spring 2017

Dr. Firestein

I am pleased to announce our participation in two new NIH initiatives that create nationwide networks to support critical facets of clinical trials: The Trial Innovation Network (TIN) and the Accrual to Clinical Trials program (ACT). UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) serves as the local link to these exciting new efforts. The goal of the TIN is to provide consultation and services for the design and initiation of new multi-center clinical trials, while ACT provides new tools for assessing study feasibility.

The Trial Innovation Network is a rapidly developing collaborative initiative of the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program that leverages the expertise, skills, and knowledge of the CTSA Consortium. The Network serves as a resource for investigators seeking consultations and services for designing and launching multi-center clinical trials. It includes three key organizational partners – the Trial Innovation Centers (TICs), the Recruitment Innovation Center (RIC), and CTSA Program Hubs (like UC San Diego). ACTRI, supported in part through a CTSA grant, is the UC San Diego Hub.

The TIN supports central institutional review board reviews, master contracting agreements, novel design approaches, and strategies to participant recruitment. The IRB reliance program uses the Streamlined, Multi-site, Accelerated Resources for Trials (SMART) IRB Exchange, as well as the utilization of master/standard agreements. The SMART IRB Exchange, an IT platform supported by the Duke/Vanderbilt TIC, enables a single IRB review of all Network multi-center studies.

The TIN is accepting Network project proposals for basic consultation/service or comprehensive consultation. Researchers are invited to submit their proposals to the ACTRI for an initial assessment. The first stop for UC San Diego PIs is the ACTRI Hub Liaison Team for consultation. Please contact ACTRI TIN liaison Archana Bhatt. We encourage our faculty to apply for assistance and look forward to discussing this new resource with you.

Accrual to Clinical Trials (ACT), funded by the CTSA program, is a nationwide network of sites that share electronic health records (EHR) data to significantly increase participant accrual to the nation’s highest priority clinical trials. UC San Diego is one of the lead sites, joining the leadership teams at the University of Pittsburgh, UT Southwestern and Harvard. The ACT presently includes a network of 21 CTSA hubs for real-time cohort discovery, with plans to extend to 34 hubs by the end of the year and develop plug-ins for cohort identification. The ACTRI Biomedical Informatics (BMI) team helps maintain the platform used in ACT. We are in the process of fully implementing our ACT role through the ACTRI Participant Recruitment Center. Stay tuned….this will go live before the end of this year!

To find out more about the Trial Innovation Network and the ACTRI Hub Liaison Team, please visit:

To find out more about the Accrual to Clinical Trials Network, please visit:

Gary S. Firestein, MD, Director of ACTRI 
Distinguished Professor of Medicine
Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine
Phone: (858) 822-3824