- Rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions affect a large portion of the U.S. population
- The CCCR is centered on improving how persons feel and function in their daily lives
- The CCCR will build upon the wearable and portable technology revolution and integrate several outstanding programs at NU
A new five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will provide infrastructure to scientists and investigators at Northwestern University to support, accelerate, and improve the quality and impact of clinical research aimed at preventing or treating rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions.
The funding, from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), supports the creation of the Core Center for Clinical Research at Northwestern University (CCCR). NIAMS created this grant specifically to condense the time between an investigator conceiving of a way to prevent or treat someone with rheumatic or musculoskeletal conditions and that intervention being incorporated into patient and population care. Rheumatic conditions include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, other types of arthritis, lupus, systemic sclerosis/scleroderma, and vasculitis. Musculoskeletal conditions include any conditions that affect the joints, bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and injury to these tissues.
Improving how people feel and function in their daily lives
Specifically, under the leadership of PI Leena Sharma and Coinvestigators Michael Bass, C. Hendricks Brown, Rowland W. Chang, Joan S. Chmiel, Dorothy Dunlop, Hassan Ghomrawi, Monique Hinchcliff, Kristi L. Holmes, Masha Kocherginsky, Julia Lee, David C. Mohr, Richard Pope, Rosalind Ramsey-Goldman, Nan Rothrock, Bonnie Spring, Linda Van Horn, and Deborah Winter, the CCCR’s work will focus on prevention strategy and intervention development to create lifestyle, behavioral, medical, and rehabilitative solutions for individuals with or at risk for these conditions. These conditions affect a very large segment of the U.S. population. For example, an estimated 21 million Americans have diagnosed osteoarthritis, just one of the conditions that the CCCR targets. Considering just the knee, among Americans 55 years and older, 40% have frequent knee pain or radiographic knee osteoarthritis. In older individuals, knee osteoarthritis is responsible for as much chronic disability as cardiovascular disease.
The Center will support studies of persons throughout the lifespan, from childhood through old age, with the overarching goal of improving outcomes for those persons at risk for these conditions or who are already afflicted.
Providing research support to all collaborators
The overall aims of the CCCR are as follows:
- Accelerate and enhance funded research, by improving efficiency, rigor, collaboration, cost-effectiveness, productivity, and impact – this Aim deals with already funded research at Northwestern
- Catalyze and add value to all NU research relevant to our mission – this Aim also deals with work that is already planned or underway
- Promote new research, by expanding the community working in the areas of our mission and by expanding research fields within the mission – this Aim deals with work that has not as yet been envisioned
The CCCR is comprised of Administrative, Methodologic, and Resource Cores:
- The Administrative Core is responsible not only for management and operations of the Center, but also for specific CCCR missions, some of which are organized into 3 Sub-Cores: the Mentoring Sub-Core will take charge of Administrative Core missions relating to scientific and career development of mentees, mentor development, and team cohesion; the Outreach Sub-Core will take charge of communication and enrichment missions, attracting investigators, furthering collaboration, and expanding the Research Community and fields of work; the Evaluation Sub-Core will be responsible for ongoing assessment of CCCR activities.
- The Methodologic Core aims include, to provide: data management support; expertise pertaining to research design, study conduct, outcome assessment, and data analysis; an enhanced training environment through focused services, collaboration, team science training; cutting-edge capabilities to meet ongoing and evolving needs of the Research Community regarding: a) statistical analysis, b) epidemiology, c) behavioral science, d) nutritional science, e) implementation science, f) economic evaluation, g) genomics/bioinformatics, and h) clinical informatics.
- The Resource Core, ASSIST-Daily Life (Assessment & Intervention Science & Technology in Daily Life), will integrate Sub-Cores (Person-Centered Outcomes Assessment and Technology; Accelerometer Measurement of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior and Sleep; and Behavioral Intervention Technologies), with these aims: design tailored multi-modal assessment and health interventions, incorporating real-world: a) self-report of social, physical, and mental health, symptoms, and life satisfaction, and performance-based assessment of motor, sensory, and cognitive function; b) accelerometry to assess physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep; and c) mobile, web, tablet, and sensor-based applications that identify real-world behavioral markers using GPS, activity logs, and wearable biosensors, to predict physiological and psychological states; and implement technology platforms that can deploy interventions and administer multi-modal assessment, integrating into the platform self-report, performance-based, and accelerometer assessment.
The CCCR is funded by NIH NIAMS grant P30AR072579. The Center will operate as an integrated unit, drawing on many outstanding departments and divisions across Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine: the Departments of Medicine, Preventive Medicine, Medical Social Sciences, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences, the Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM), and the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS).
Congratulations to the Northwestern CCCR team!