Translational Medicine: Professor Mel Calvert

Hello Dear ECRAG members!

We had the pleasure of hosting Professor Mel Calvert for a very interesting and interactive talk on “Birmingham’s institute of translational medicine”. Broadly speaking, Translational Medicine relates to informing and training healthcare workforces on a global scale by “translating” findings in to diagnostic tools, medicines, procedures, policies and education.

The session began with our cheery, informal ice-breaker. The topic this week was “what is your favourite pet/s and if you haven’t had a pet which animal do you like?”. This was the perfect way to learn more about members of the department as they shared tender memories of growing up with their furry or feathery friends. Cats appear to be the pet of choice with their lazy yet loveable demeanour but members also favoured dogs, gerbils, goldfish, horses and a cockatiel called “beauty”.

Now back to business!

The centre for translational medicine will be opening this summer and is in partnership with numerous institutes, such as being a Birmingham health partner and working with the children’s hospital. The institute is funded by the government and private bodies and applies a D3B approach to applied research. The D3 approach includes diagnostics, drugs, devices and biomarkers within the applied health research methods hub.

Translational medicine aims to translate early research findings in to diagnostic tools, medicines, devices, procedures, policies and education. The key aim is to have the implementation of data into practice e.g. service evaluation.

The institute will be a platform for engaging with industry developers and services in the West Midlands area. This will develop pathways to diverse, all-encompassing networks to use research in society in a cost effective way.

There will be around 600-2000 jobs generated through the institute, with a multi-million investment over the first 5 years. Birmingham is particularly suited for such an institute due to its unique strengths; transport (station) and access to the hospital.

The three main components of the initiative (the 3 C’s) include:

Community: Cafe and office based work environments to facilitate communication

Capacity: support work units, labs and clinical research

Commercial: a portal that is a one stop shop for industry, business engagement and support work joint working.

The institute will be a hub and a gateway to the industry that addresses “real world” problems and supports industry partnerships whilst protecting intellectual property (IP) within commercialisation.

Clinical research is traditionally clinician led with efficient trial design (time and money) which is crucial. Therefore, research facilities, purpose filed early clinical trials centres will complement existing trials structures and is supported by the NIHR, welcome trust clinical research facility.

The facility will be a centre for research into rare diseases including: genetic profiling, patient tailored therapy and clinical themes surrounding: integrate world class research, cancer, device and diagnosis, rare diseases, autoimmune diseases and chronic disease. The core infrastructure will surround: a commercial hub, early phase CTU, informatics and health amongst others.

In terms of education the institute will offer clinical associates an internship where nurses and applied health professionals can acquire a masters and research fellowships that will fund MD, PhD and Post doctoral.

Currently there is minimal applied research with qualitative methods but there is a recognised need for extra qualitative, systematic review and meta analysis capacity.

Furthermore, early career researchers will be aware of research development in the pipeline, have an increased opportunity for collaborations, networking, industry partnership, job opportunities, further training e.g. fellowships, joint doctoral supervision and provision of attendance at training events.

If you would like more information or want to read up a little on the topic before coming to the talk, visit: http://www.birminghamhealthpartners.co.uk/Downloads/InstituteTranslationalMedicineBrochure.pdf

Or contact:

ITM manager: Fiona McGlynn 0121 371 4820 ITM@uhb.nhs.uk and YouTube for walk through videos of the centre.

ECRAG will keep you posted on the development of the centre, so keep an eye on the blog!

Farina Kokab (ECRAG co-chair) fxk660@bham.ac.uk


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