The Clinical Research Unit (CRU) is a new 14,000 square foot facility on the NIEHS Research Triangle Park, North Carolina campus. To see what the building looks like on the inside, please see the virtual tour (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/clinical/join/durham/vtour.cfm).
Previously, NIEHS research involving humans could not be performed on the main campus; therefore, a separate building was needed. The new CRU facility is situated adjacent to the main NIEHS laboratories and will permit scientists to conduct studies that involve on-site human sample collection, analysis and functional assessment. The CRU is designed to provide infrastructure and staffing for the on-site NIEHS Clinical Research Program (CRP) (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/clinical/program/index.cfm), but it will also assume a core laboratory function in support of multiple NIEHS investigators. The CRU staff will provide support in the development of translational research protocols, research staff, and assist with patient recruitment and reimbursement. Basic sample processing will also be performed in specialized laboratories located on-site.
Scientists who will utilize the new facility have proposed a diverse array of research studies, which involve pulmonary diseases, medical genetics, cardiovascular diseases and reproductive health. The CRU will accommodate outpatient research only and will offer routine patient evaluation, fluoroscopy, ultrasound imaging and basic sample collection and processing. It will also feature specialized diagnostic and analytical capabilities, such as inhalation exposures, pulmonary function assessment and bronchoscopy with bronchial sampling. The unit will allow for advanced training opportunities for students and postdoctoral fellows whose research interests require access to clinical samples and patient studies.
The opening of the new CRU reflects a widening of the NIEHS research portfolio to include translational research. In the CRU, NIEHS scientists and grantees will be encouraged to develop protocols that promote translational and interdisciplinary research at various levels.
The NIEHS scientific leadership, together with the Director of the Clinical Research Program Darryl C. Zeldin, M.D. and CRU Medical Director Stavros Garantziotis, M.D., has devised a thorough scientific and utilization review process to ensure that only the highest quality research is conducted at the CRU, that patient safety is ensured and that resources are appropriately allocated. Furthermore, the NIEHS National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council will advise and monitor clinical research efforts and help address questions about the future direction of translational research at the institute.