Several thousand diseases affect humans, of which only about 500 have approved treatments. Thanks to our growing understanding of human biology, along with increased availability of innovative technologies, there is now an unprecedented opportunity to translate scientific discoveries more efficiently into new, more effective and safer health interventions. To empower the realization of this opportunity, NCATS develops innovations that reduce, remove or bypass costly and time-consuming bottlenecks in the translational science process, to speed the development and delivery of new drugs, diagnostics, medical devices and behavioral interventions to patients.
Since NCATS was established in late 2011, an enormous amount has been accomplished scientifically and organizationally to begin the transformation of translational science that is NCATS’ mission. Building on that strong foundation, we now are embarking on a strategic planning process to help determine the greatest needs and opportunities that will become our priorities for the next five years. Since becoming director in 2012, I have made continuous engagement with our many collaborators and stakeholders a central part of the NCATS culture, positioning us well to begin this important planning process for the next stage of the Center’s evolution.
NCATS stakeholders are many and varied, including patients and members of the health advocacy community; basic, translational and clinical scientists at universities and other research institutions; health care providers; biotechnology, venture capital and pharmaceutical industry representatives; colleagues at other NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices; partners at other government agencies (e.g., the Food and Drug Administration and other Department of Health and Human Services agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Defense); policymakers and funders; and the general public.
As I’ve often said, a key distinguishing feature of translational research is that it is a “team sport.” The translational process is so multifaceted that no one individual or organization, no matter how committed or talented, can be maximally successful by itself. NCATS is no different, and for this reason, I personally encourage all of our stakeholders to enthusiastically participate in our strategic planning process. It is of utmost importance that all are included in this endeavor so that we comprehensively assemble the best ideas from many points of view to shape the future of translational science, and thus fulfill our mission to bring more treatments to more patients more quickly.
Please join me and NCATS on this exciting journey.
Christopher P. Austin, M.D.
Posted October 2015