FDA and NIH Create First-of-Kind Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science
A new, first-of-its-kind regulatory science tobacco program, TCORS is designed to generate research to inform the regulation of tobacco products to protect public health. Using designated funds from the FDA, TCORS will be coordinated by the NIH’s Office of Disease Prevention, directed by David M. Murray, PhD, and administered by three NIH institutes – the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
The TCORS program brings together investigators from across the country to aid in the development and evaluation of tobacco product regulations. Each TCORS center has identified a targeted research goal. Together, the TCORS sites aim to increase knowledge across the full spectrum of basic and applied research on tobacco and addiction. The program also reportedly provides young investigators with training opportunities to ensure the development of the next generation of tobacco regulatory scientists.
Comprised of scientists with expertise in fields including epidemiology, behavior, biology, medicine, economics, chemistry, toxicology, addictions, public health, communications, and marketing, the TCORS program is the centerpiece of the FDA-NIH collaboration to foster research relevant to tobacco regulatory science. New research from TCORS will help inform and assess the impact of FDA’s prior, ongoing, and potential future tobacco regulatory activities implemented by Center for Tobacco Products under the direction of Mitch Zeller, J.D. In addition, the TCORS investigators will have the flexibility and capacity to begin new research to address issues raised in today’s rapidly evolving tobacco marketplace.
Designed to generate vital research in seven core areas, as well as ensure innovation in the field, the research supported by this initiative will provide scientific evidence within seven FDA tobacco-related research interest areas: diversity of tobacco products; reducing addiction; reducing toxicity and carcinogenicity; adverse health consequences; communications; marketing of tobacco products; and economics and policies.
TCORS proposals were selected for funding based on their scientific and technical merit as determined by NIH scientific peer review, availability of funds, and relevance of the proposed projects to program priorities.
Among the 14 TCORS that have been awarded are Pamela I. Clark, PhD, University of Maryland, College Park, whose various projects include exploring tobacco microbial constituents and the oral microbiome of tobacco users; Thomas E. Eissenberg. PhD, and Robert Balster, PhD Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, whose projects include analytical lab methods for MRTP evaluation; Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, University of California-San Francisco, overseeing projects that include quantification and biomarkers of short-term pulmonary effects of tobacco smoke exposure: infection-related acute lung injury; and Robert Tarran, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine, whose projects include translational studies to identify epithelial biomarkers of smoke exposure.