CommentaryPolicy and education

Training Translators for Smart Drug Discovery

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Science Translational Medicine  07 Apr 2010:
Vol. 2, Issue 26, pp. 26cm12
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3000890

Figures

  • Fig. 1. Physician-scientists at the helm.

    This case study demonstrates the scope of interactions involved in the pursuit of two mechanistic investigator-initiated protocols (clinicaltrials.gov identifiers NCT00682318 and NCT00780325). The physician-scientist (center) navigates resources situated in the clinical (right) and basic (left) research domains. In this case, initiation of the clinical research plan required a multiplicity of interactions, mainly with resources of the Clinical Translational Research Center (CTRC), regulatory bodies (institutional review board, FDA), and industry to ensure a protected environment for research participants. Resources from the basic research enterprise provided development and validation of unbiased markers in animals. Collectively, approximately 65 colleagues ensured mostly service-oriented requests, with a smaller number participating in intensive interdisciplinary project-oriented collaborations (for example, in the domain of biometrics). ITMAT, Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics; CRCU, Clinical Research Computing Unit; CCEB, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics; KMAS, kinetics, modeling, and simulation core; LC-MS/MS, tandem liquid chromatography mass spectrometry.

    CREDIT: C. BICKEL/SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE
  • Fig. 2. Modular, dis-integrated models of drug discovery and development.

    (Upper panel) Traditionally, the vertically integrated large pharmaceutical company retained expertise in target identification, medicinal chemistry, and clarification of the drugability of the target; pharmacokinetics and modeling; proof of concept (POC) in cells and model systems; and all phases of clinical development. Biotechnology traditionally focused on target identification, medicinal chemistry, and drugability and POC studies, whereas the smaller contributions from academia focused on target identification and limited POC studies. (Lower panel) As the capacity of academia to engage in TMAT pursuits increases, we are likely to move to a more segmented approach that crosses sectorial and geographic boundaries. Precisely what sector supports which segment may vary with each project. Examples of this approach are presently extant in the not-for-profit sector; examples include the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), TB Alliance, and Institute for OneWorld Health.

    CREDITS: G. FITZGERALD AND E. SMYTH/ INSTITUTE FOR TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE AND THERAPEUTICS; ADAPTED BY C. BICKEL/SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE

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