May 3, 2010
Translational Medicine: The Next
Generation of “Bench to Bedside”
Center for Clinical & Translational Science holds first research retreat
Basic scientists and
clinicians from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and its
clinical partner, UMass Memorial Medical Center, gathered Friday, April
30, at the Hoagland-Pincus Conference Center in Shrewsbury for the first
Translation Medicine and Science Retreat where they heard from
colleagues who are translating cutting-edge bench science to bedside
therapies for diseases such as diabetes, vascular disease, autism,
hepatitis C and leukemia.
“There is an immense amount of interest
in the clinical and translation research being done at the Medical
School and hospital,” said Robert W. Finberg, MD, the Richard M.
Haidack Professor of Medicine and chair and professor of medicine
and molecular genetics & microbiology. “We wanted to take this
opportunity to showcase the tremendous collaborations taking place
between our basic and clinical sciences.”
More than 200 attendees
were treated to a full day of lectures and panels comprised entirely of
UMass experts. The following is a brief sampling of some of the
presentations made during the day:
- David Harlan, MD, professor of medicine, and Silvia Corvera,
MD, professor of molecular medicine and cell biology, kicked off the
retreat with a discussion about the molecular pathways involved in
diabetes and current clinical research at UMass to develop a closed-loop
insulin pump that more closely matches new understandings about the
human biological system.
- Shaoguang Li, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine, and Alan G.
Rosmarin, MD, the Gladys Smith Martin Chair in Oncology and
professor of medicine, discussed how a discovery about the molecular
pathway of the Alox5 gene made by Dr. Li has lead to a clinical trial
exploring the use of a common asthma drug to kill chronic myeloid
leukemia stem cells.
- Donna Ambrosino, MD, professor of pediatrics and executive director
of MassBiologics, talked about efforts to use a monoclonal antibody to
treat hepatitis C in live transplant patients. Clinical trials by the
UMass program are expected to start this summer and could potentially
prevent live transplant patients with hepatitis C from being re-infected
with the disease.
- Jean A. Frazier, MD, the Robert M. and Shirley S. Siff Chair in
Autism and professor of psychiatry and pediatrics discussed an
ongoing project at UMass to provide pre-employment training for young
adults with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Representatives from several of the Office of Research Core Facilities,
such as the Biorepository, Biomedical Informatics and Genomics, among
others, were also present throughout the day to talk to scientists about
available resources. “Our hope is that after today people will come
away with a better understanding of the clinical research being done at
UMass and the resources that might be available to them for their own
projects,” said Dr. Finberg.