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Research path requires many partnerships. by Robert Gracy, Ph. D.  Associate vice president for research and biotechnology, UNT Health Science CenterToday's medical issues are so complex that no single researcher or research team has the training, expertise or perspective required to fully develop the solutions.

Even the most fundamental and basic mechanisms of a disease must be studied by teams of scientists, physicians, public health researchers and other healthcare specialists — each with unique training, insight and ideas.

by Robert Gracy, Ph.D. Associate vice president for research and biotechnology, UNT Health Science CenterSolutions to these complex problems often lie between traditional disciplines. Increasingly, researchers from different disciplines are working together to address common issues.

This may bring together teams from diverse areas such as physiology, molecular biology, genetics, neuropathology, pharmacology, gerontology, epidemiology and environmental science.

At the UNT Health Science Center, we embraced the collaborative spirit of interdisciplinary research years ago and established multidisciplinary Institutes of Discovery. Through these institutes, researchers from various disciplines in the medical, biomedical sciences and public health schools work together.

These collaborations at the Health Science Center have led to advances in the areas of cardiovascular disease, cancer, aging and Alzheimer's disease, vision-related diseases, and physical medicine.

As a new discovery slowly proceeds toward the patient's bedside, other partners enter the picture. These may be in areas such as drug delivery and bioengineering and often involve other academic institutions. Developing the initial basic discovery into a useful product involves industry partners with expertise in financing and commercialization.

Clinical collaborators supervising clinical trials form partnerships with colleagues from the pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology industries. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also becomes an important partner, assuring that new therapies are both safe and effective.

Research does not end when a new drug or medical device is approved and becomes integrated into patient care. At this point, research from the public health perspective is just beginning. Public health issues may emerge, and health education may be needed.

As new partners evaluate the treatment through post-marketing research, new insight into further improvements is gained. Or perhaps new uses for the drug are found and new therapies are born. And so the research cycle continues.



















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