Freidenrich Center for Translational Research

Improving Research

Insights into the molecular and cellular basis of disease have been generated at an unprecedented pace in recent years, and the remaining challenge is to translate these basic research insights into clinical advances. A fundamental goal of Stanford University is to accelerate the application of scientific discoveries to patient care and improvements in human health and well-being, and it does so through a wide variety of highly productive clinical and translational research (CTR).  As of May 2009, over 1,100 CTR projects were funded from NIH and other sources, including projects from the Cancer Center. In 2008, 272 interventional and 117 noninterventional cancer trials were being conducted by investigators in the Cancer Center, and the Clinical and Translational Research Unit (CTRU) was utilized by 119 clinical and translational research studies. In addition, Spectrum supported 110 investigators with services including budgeting, billing, and biostatistics. With support services and resources located in a centralized building, increasing visibility and ease of access, these numbers are expected to increase.

Stanford is also among the most effective academic institutions in translating basic discoveries into real-world improvements in human health. The mission of the University Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) is to transfer Stanford technology to industry as effectively as possible for the benefit of society. The Jill and John Freidenrich Center for Translational Research (FCTR) building will facilitate the interdisciplinary work that contributes to and culminates in discoveries that can successfully be translated into the market.

Over the past three years, Stanford University has committed to four substantial trans-institutional development initiatives with direct relevance to CTR. These four initiatives, collectively called the Stanford Challenge, include the Initiative on Human Health (which focuses on bioengineering, cancer, stem cells and regenerative medicine, and neuroscience); Environment and Sustainability (in which the environmental interface with health is a significant component); the International Initiative (in which Third World health needs are a major component); and the Multidisciplinary Research Initiative (to promote research spanning multiple disciplines, including biomedical research, across the University).

Three critical premises underlying the initiatives are: (1) innovation is the essential ingredient for continued improvement in human health and well-being; (2) Stanford’s record of success indicates an implicit institutional ability to teach, predict, and direct innovation; and (3) we can develop explicit, systematic approaches to promote innovation. The FCTR will provide a physical home in which these initiatives can be most efficiently addressed and accomplished.

The FCTR building will leverage this large institutional commitment to clinical and translational research and focus a broad array of outstanding institutional resources on our stated mission of “Translating Discoveries” from the bench to the bedside (medstrategicplan.stanford.edu). It will do so by concentrating research personnel with diverse expertise and responsibilities in the same space, facilitate team building and multidisciplinary brain-storming, and provide an optimized physical location for researchers to interact directly with their subjects/patients in conducting research.

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