2015 Director's Messages Director's Messages

During the holiday season, Small Business Saturday promotes shopping at individually owned businesses to recognize and promote their significant community contributions. It’s always Small Business Day at NCATS, since throughout the year, the Center supports entrepreneurship as an integral part of advancing translational science to get more treatments to more patients more quickly...

At this Thanksgiving time of year, we turn our attention to how very different our family members can be despite sharing the same genes. Diseases turn out to be like families this way — a discovery with profound implications for translational science...

I often write about the NCATS goal to develop, demonstrate and disseminate innovations that speed the translational research process. But what is this “translational science process,” and why is improving it so difficult...

This past January, President Obama announced his intention to launch a Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) that would enable clinicians to tailor disease prevention and treatment recommendations to each individual based on their particular genetics, environment and lifestyle. Last week, a working group of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director released a report that includes a PMI vision for a cohort of more than 1 million Americans participating as active partners in the research process...

Creating a new therapeutic is like constructing a building. Both are highly complex, multi-year endeavors that require the contributions of many different disciplines...

I often write about how the inefficiencies so prevalent in the translational process can be turned into opportunities when viewed through the lens of innovation. A striking example is a current statistic in drug development: 80 percent of drugs that enter human testing are never approved for use...

Although a great deal of painstaking work goes into creating and testing potential new treatments before they are administered to people, the most critical and complex stage of the translational process is the testing of interventions in humans for safety and effectiveness. Because these “clinical trials” often require testing in large numbers of people with a particular type of disease, multiple hospitals or other clinical sites usually are needed to study the intervention in a sufficient number of patients in a timely fashion...

A Japanese proverb says, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” Solving the systemic and highly complex problems of translation will require that adage as a guiding principle...

Last month, I was privileged to play one of my favorite roles — laboratory tour guide — for Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a longtime and vocal champion of biomedical research. During the tour of NCATS’ laboratories, I used three examples to illustrate our mission of developing translational technologies that will get more treatments to more patients more quickly...

Often in today’s world, the word “chemical” conjures up a toxic, man-made substance that is undoubtedly harmful to human health. The growing consumer demand for “natural” foods and cosmetics illustrates this trend...

On January 30, I attended a White House event where President Obama announced plans for an ambitious new Precision Medicine Initiative. This exciting effort aims to build on recent successes in developing treatments for certain cancers and other conditions, including rare diseases, based on genetic information...

For people living with a rare disease called a lysosomal storage disorder, a tiny mistake in their DNA leads to big problems on the cellular level. Fatty materials called lipids build up in their cells and tissues, and those deposits can damage the brain, nerves, liver and other organs...