Meeting the challenges facing translational research
We know more about the human body today than we did yesterday, and tomorrow we’ll know even more—a lot more. In the last two decades, advances in human genome sequencing, molecular imaging, and other areas have sparked a research revolution that reveals ever more detailed and precise information about how our bodies work. Every day brings new discoveries, many of which may hold the potential to improve human health in meaningful ways.
But the pace at which those discov- eries lead to improved health has been frustratingly slow. Yes, new drugs and new therapies do reach patients, and when they do, they often make a tre- mendous difference. But relative to the number of research projects conducted, papers published, and trials run, it is clear that new health care advances have lagged behind the vast amounts of data generated by the explosion in biomedical discovery.
Duke is playing a lead role among academic medical institutions working to change that. On multiple fronts, and in collaboration with partners within the university and nationwide, Duke researchers and clinicians are exploring ways to increase the speed and efficiency with which research discoveries are translated into advances in patient care.
Last October, the National Institutes of Health awarded the Duke Translational Medicine Institute a five- year, $47 million grant to help fuel that effort. The Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) provides wide-ranging resources for clinical researchers at Duke and an infrastruc- ture that supports sharing developments across a consortium of more than 60 other research institutions nationwide. The award represents a renewal of the grant that Duke received in the initial round of CTSA funding in 2006.
“Our vision is to create a research environment at Duke that links dis- covery science with a creative engine that can accelerate the development of new technologies based on scientific merit and societal need to improve public health,” says cardiologist Robert M. Califf, MD, T’73, MD’78, HS’78, ’80-’83, the Donald F. Fortin, MD, Professor of Cardiology, director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute and vice chancellor of clinical and translational research.