Francis Collins' announcement that the NIH would seek to create a new center for translational science to speed drug discovery may have been hailed in many quarters but was met with some level of consternation by other NIH center directors. Why? Because the NIH is capped by 2006 legislation to havng no more than its current 27 centers. So if you want to add one more, then one has to go!
Other center directors (not all) have expressed the concern that "the implications for the rest of the NIH hadn't been adequately discussed" prior to the announcement. The money for the new center might have to come from the budgets of other insitutes. Right now, it looks like the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) would be odd man out. At least part of it could be slated for absorption into the new translational center -- including the NCRR's Clinical and Translational Science Awards ($490 M budget). The Cures Acceleration Network that was created by health reform but is not yet funded is also likely to fall here as well.
NCRR's current director asked that it be expanded to house the new translational center, but an advisory panel rejected the idea and stated a need to create a new center. It is not clear if the rest of the NCRR portfolio would be retained and possibly dispersed to other centers. See Sciencemag.org.
Posted by Bruce Lehr December 10th 2010.