March 27, 2009

Clinical, translational text debuts

Clinical, translational text debuts

Physicians and investigators who want to learn more about clinical and translational research can consult a new resource — the first textbook covering the discipline.

A team of Vanderbilt Medical Center and Harvard investigators, joined by an international cadre of scientists, contributed to the textbook, “Clinical and Translational Science: Principles of Human Research,” which was recently published by Academic Press.

The phrase “clinical and translational science” derives from the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs), a national consortium of academic health centers that aims to provide new treatments more efficiently and quickly to patients.

Now comprising 38 institutions, the National Institutes of Health-supported consortium ultimately will link about 60 institutions together to energize the discipline of clinical and translational science.

Vanderbilt received a $40 million CTSA — its largest single government research grant — in 2007. This grant funds VICTR, the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.

Clinical and translational science encompasses fields devoted to investigating human health and disease, interventions and outcomes, for the purposes of developing new treatment approaches, devices and modalities to improve health.

The national growth of the CTSA program is fueling a lot of new interest in clinical research by a much broader range of scientists than in the past, noted David Robertson, M.D., co-editor of the new textbook with Gordon H. Williams, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

David Robertson, M.D.

David Robertson, M.D.

“We have been delighted by the enthusiastic reception and vigorous sales the textbook has garnered since it was published,” said Robertson, professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Neurology at Vanderbilt.“

VICTR, the Vanderbilt-Meharry CTSA, is perceived nationally as perhaps the leader among the CTSAs because it has great strengths in the full range of research from bench to bedside to community.”

“All medical fellows and especially Ph.D. post-docs engaged in biological research should have this text. Whether or not they think that their research will lead to a human clinical trial, this text describes in excellent detail how to think about tasks requisite to human experimentation,” wrote D. Stephen DeCherney, M.D., M.P.H., an adjunct professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who has more than 20 years of experience as a principal investigator and executive of a clinical trials firm, in a review of the textbook.

“I only wish I had this text 30 years ago when I was a fellow; it would have saved me a lot of time wandering in the confusing miasma of science and regulations conducting clinical trials.”

Robertson is the Elton Yates Professor of Autonomic Disorders and director of Vanderbilt's Clinical Research Center.