Helping researchers more rapidly move potentially lifesaving discoveries from the lab to the marketplace will be the focus of a new research center recently approved by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. The Center for Translation of Healthcare Technologies (CTHT), a partnership among the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, the Texas A&M Institute of Biosciences and Technology, an arm of the Texas A&M University Health Science Center, and Texas A&M University, will provide advanced training and resources to Texas A&M innovators in the discovery, translation and commercialization of biomedical devices and therapeutics. The center will have a special focus on biotherapeutics, biomaterials for regenerative medicine and interventional devices, and will also provide training in biotechnology and commercialization to Texas A&M students.
Translational medicine, or moving innovations from research laboratories to health care settings where they can best benefit patients and health care professionals, is a national priority. Navigating translation from the research lab, often through regulatory agencies and marketplaces, to reach patients is challenging. To meet this need, one of the center’s main objectives is to help researchers translate and commercialize their research. Currently, few researchers focused on human health have the training or experience needed to form companies, acquire funding and complete the necessary steps for commercialization of their research. This in turn causes many important breakthroughs to be either slowed in the commercialization process, or worse yet, never make it to the market.
“CTHT will help us shepherd promising discoveries from the laboratory to their ultimate application to the treatment of disease in patients in our communities. This requires the movement of basic research discoveries from the laboratory into the marketplace through the complicated process of commercialization,” said Dr. Peter Davies, director of the Texas A&M Institute of Biosciences and Technology in Houston’s Texas Medical Center. “The CTHT will help to accelerate this process and improve our ability to translate our research into therapies and health care interventions that benefit patients with many different types of diseases.”
The new research center will draw extensively on Texas A&M’s core strengths in engineering and biomedical sciences in order to have the greatest impact on health care, and enable researchers to advance bioscience discoveries.
“We have entered a new phase of collaboration, encompassing education, health care delivery, and research as evidenced in recent partnerships—such as EnMed—between the health sciences and engineering,” said Dr. Carrie L. Byington, the incoming vice chancellor for health services at The Texas A&M University System, dean of the College of Medicine and senior vice president of the Health Science Center. “CTHT is another positive step forward. Team-based translational research and collaborative innovation across the resource-rich university offers the greatest potential to address the 21st century challenges to health.” A translational scientist herself, Byington comes to Texas A&M from the University of Utah Health Sciences Center, where she served as the principal investigator for the Utah Center of Clinical and Translational Science, a National Institutes of Health-funded center.
CTHT will also better prepare trainees for successful careers in biotechnology. Many current training programs do not fully align with the needs of the workforce or the changing landscape of careers in biomedical research. CTHT will provide graduate students with entrepreneurial and commercialization knowledge, skills and experiences required for successful careers in the biotechnology sector, and also provide hands-on training in commercialization through biotechnology internships.
About the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES)
As an engineering research agency of Texas, TEES performs quality research driven by world problems; strengthens and expands the state’s workforce through educational partnerships and training; and develops and transfers technology to industry. TEES partners with academic institutions, governmental agencies, industries, and communities to solve problems to help improve the quality of life, promote economic development, and enhance educational systems.
About Texas A&M University Health Science Center
Texas A&M University Health Science Center is transforming health through innovative research, education and service in dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health and medical sciences. As an independent state agency and academic unit of Texas A&M University, the health science center serves the state through campuses in Bryan-College Station, Dallas, Temple, Houston, Round Rock, Kingsville, Corpus Christi and McAllen. Learn more at vitalrecord.tamhsc.edu or follow @TAMHSC on Twitter.
Communications Specialist, Texas A&M University Health Science Center
Director, Engineering Communications