The objective of the Diabetes Translational Research Core (DTRC) is to establish a core research staff with specialized expertise in the performance of complex clinical studies in diabetes and metabolism, and to provide training and education for the development of next generation of clinical researchers in diabetes.
Through its new Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA), the NIH has undertaken a bold new program to redesign the clinical and translational research infrastructure to accelerate the translation of new scientific findings into health gains for the nation. The goals of the CTSA are well aligned with the mission of the DRC to improve the health of Americans with diabetes by translating basic discoveries into new strategies for the prevention, treatment and cure of diabetes.
In October 2006, Yale was selected as one of the initial 12 academic medical centers to receive a CTSA (P.I. R. Sherwin). Consequently, the Yale DRC is ideally positioned to benefit from the services and resources provided by the Yale CTSA. The partnership between the Yale DRC and the CTSA will allow the development of an integrated and efficient infrastructure to support diabetes research and clinical research education on a level not previously possible.
Specific Aim 1: To provide specialized clinical and translational research infrastructure (trained personnel, access to equipment, laboratory resources, research facilities) to help support complex metabolic studies.
Specific Aim 2: To establish a structured training and credentialing program in the conduct of a wide variety of metabolic research techniques (insulin-glucose clamps in outpatient research unit and magnetic resonance spectroscopy facility, stable isotope infusions, indirect calorimetry, VO2max testing, etc) for new investigators and research nursing staff.
Specific Aim 3: To assist with initiation and implementation of metabolic studies via protocol development, regulatory support, and recruitment of study participants. This component of the core will be CTSA supported.
As Dr. Zerhouni emphasized in his New England Journal of Medicine paper, “Translational and Clinical Science-Time for a New Vision,” it is the responsibility of those involved in research to translate scientific innovations and advances into health gains for the nation. The Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program is one of the ways that NIH is implementing this vision to redesign clinical and translational research programs at major academic medical centers across the country. The overriding objective of the CTSA is to integrate and enhance current clinical and translational programs and resources within an institution to produce a new home for clinical and translational research that is far greater than the sum of its individual parts. The aim is to move discoveries from the laboratory into the community much more efficiently than is currently being accomplished. Similarly, the mission of the Diabetes Endocrinology Research Centers program is to improve the health of Americans with diabetes and related endocrine and metabolic disorders by rapidly translating scientific findings into new strategies for the prevention, treatment and cure of diabetes and related disorders. Thus, NIH in general and NIDDK in particular have put a high priority on translating scientific discoveries into tangible health benefits for the community.
The CTSA will provide DRC members and their trainees an integrated structure that will coordinate education programs for post-doctoral fellows in clinical and translational research; nurture the career development of junior faculty involved in clinical and translational research; facilitate access of investigators to key translational technologies and provide them with the mentorship and knowledge needed to best utilize these cores; stimulate and support interdisciplinary and interdepartmental collaborations between faculty and their trainees as well as with the community at large; and create a centralized administrative support structure and improved clinical research facilities for the design and implementation of cutting-edge clinical investigations. Diabetes Centers and diabetes investigators at medical centers with CTSA programs should benefit from the new structures that will be put in place to foster interdisciplinary, integrated and translational research at their institutions. Indeed, one of the benchmarks of the success of a CTSA program will be how well it coordinates and integrates the research programs of the Categorical Disease Centers into the larger, institution wide clinical and translational research effort. Thus, the CTSA offers the DRC with a unique opportunity to strengthen, with a modest investment, Yale’s world-class program in human-based diabetes research, in a way we have never been able before to do. There are many NIH-funded investigators conducting state-of-the-art research in patients with diabetes who would benefit from a DRC/CTSA partnership.