Development of Novel Clinical and Translational Methodologies (NCTM)

The primary goal of NCTM is to develop transformative methodologies and enabling processes that overcome traditional obstacles from bench-to-bedside translation to positively impact patient care and the health of the Delaware Valley community. NCTM is being developed by Vicky Funanage, PhD, Director of Biomedical Research for Nemours, and Thomas Force, MD, James C. Wilson Professor of Medicine and Clinical Director, Center for Translational Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University (TJU). We propose nucleating Translational Research Interest Groupd TRIGs in biomedical imaging, biomarker development, and experimental therapeutics and devices with membership bridging all participating centers. TRIGs will form the structure for intellectual interactions via program meetings and presentations, offering opportunities for scientific collaborations, exploration of resident expertise, understanding of scientific opportunities, and the evolution of themes for collaborative research proposals. NCTM programs will have a membership that bridges bench to bedside, with the specific goal of translating novel methodologies from the laboratory to the clinic. The co-directors will be de facto members of each program to provide the integration needed to maximize scientific synergies.

New methodologies and processes will play a critical role in the transformation of clinical and translational research in the coming decades. DVICTS intends to become a leader in developing and testing innovative approaches to research, with an aim toward improving efficiencies and rate of development, opening up new avenues for research, and facilitating studies that have a direct impact on health in the Delaware Valley area. NCTM will bring together researchers and clinicians from member institutions for this purpose. DVICTS partners have a wealth of opportunities for developing novel clinical and translational methodologies. NCTM will serve as the intellectual center for advances in medical imaging, biomarkers, and experimental therapeutics and devices, with a focus on stimulating the translation of methodological developments to clinical practice through four specific aims and associated strategies.

  • Aim 1. Facilitate interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary collaborations between methodological researchers and clinical/translational investigators. Synergy in NCTM will enable faculty and fellows to bring research opportunities to fruition and stimulate their translation and dissemination to the community. NCTM will focus on historical strengths and complementary programs across the DVICTS member institutions. Methodologies in biomedical imaging, biomarkers, and experimental therapeutics and devices will serve as platforms for nucleating collaborations among basic, translational, and clinical investigators. These areas have traditionally restricted the progression of novel diagnostics and therapeutics from discovery to clinical application, and they employ methodologies that will have broad clinical applications.

  • Aim 2. Fund methodological research that is of broad clinical application/benefit. To initiate new research ideas and developments, seed funding for new programs and collaborations is critical. These pilot funds must be distributed in a way that best supports the overall goal of developing novel clinical and translation methodologies. One important function of seed funding is generating preliminary data to promote collaborative, multi-investigator research that bridges the laboratory and clinic.

  • Aim 3. Develop a single entity to navigate intellectual property (IP) processes to facilitate translation of technological advances into clinical practice by fostering collaborative interactions within DVICTS, other academic institutions, and industry. Legal challenges inherent in IP generated by investigators across multiple institutions present an obstacle to the development of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research bridging the laboratory and clinic. NCTM has been specifically charged with developing a single web-based entity for navigating these processes across institutions.

  • Aim 4. Establish an electronic interface (TechNet) that feeds information regarding access to new integrated discovery, translational and clinical core technologies across partner institutions within DVICTS into TTR for core or stand-alone capabilities. Effective access to innovative technologies among participants is central to the goals of DVICTS. Resource sharing will provide DVICTS participants with access to the widest range of resources—including computational facilities, biomedical instrumentation, capabilities to perform specific assays and diagnostic tests, data resources such as registries or databases that can be shared, and even investigator and staff expertise—while minimizing costly duplication of resources