We've all read about exciting health breakthroughs, but how do these discoveries make their way into new treatments, therapies, and tools?
In the April issue of Minnesota Health Care News, two members of our leadership team talk about how research is conducted, and detail the Clinical and Translational Science Institute's approach. Authors Jeffrey Miller, MD, and Timothy Schacker, MD, recognize the challenges of making the leap from discovery to availability, saying:
"Powerful insights and promising solutions perish due to a lack of funding, support, research participants, and technical expertise. And those that prevail have a long road ahead, making their way from the lab to clinical trials, and, ultimately to the patient."
While obstacles can't be eliminated, research institutions can find more efficient ways to overcome them. The article stresses the importance of taking a team approach, in which researchers leverage support, services, and expertise, to advance through the development pipeline.
For example, researchers with projects in the early stages of translation can turn to CTSI's Office of Discovery and Translation. There, they have access to expertise, guidance, connections, and funding that can help them advance their promising ideas and discoveries.
Resources that streamline the process are also important. The authors highlight CTSI's efforts to give researchers access to the information they need to study medical conditions, analyze patient outcomes, and pinpoint best practices across large populations. Researchers can leverage a clinical data repository that houses the electronic medical records of more than 2 million patients, plus a planned repository will house a wide range of bodily samples, each specimen a source of valuable research information.
It's not just about supporting researchers already on the translational path. Drs. Miller and Schacker stress the importance of training the next generation of researchers and building community relationships, too:
"We are also thinking beyond the scientific process, with programs that provide researchers with career development and training and spur collaboration with communities to conduct, disseminate and apply research."
To learn more about translational research and the infrastructure CTSI is building to support it, read the full story (page 16).