Monthly Archives: February 2010

Thoughts on Collaboration

It’s been an interesting conference here at the NIH campus on collaboration between academia and industry.  There was lots of talk of the “valley of death” or the wide expanse left between basic research and good ideas, and translation into the clinic.   NIH is trying to help by creating these Clinical Translational Science Awards (CTSA), which are actually consortiums organized around the country to move ideas into the clinic. There are currently 26 CTSAs with plans for 60.  They work to move drugs, devices, and diagnostics from the lab into the clinic.

What I found relevant for breast cancer advocates, is the important role they can play in ensuring that the work stays focused on the health needs.  Some of the directors from the CTSAs spoke of the need for the “pull” from the consumers to drive these collaborations and the translation, rather than the “push” form the scientists or businesses.   As these CTSAs continue to form and evolve, there may be a great opportunity for advocates to get involved and to have influence.

For more information and to find out if there are participating institutions in your area check out the website at


NIH Forum on Collaboration

I’m hoping the snow we are having today doesn’t prevent me from traveling early tomorrow morning.   I’m scheduled to fly to DC for a day in the office, and then out to Bethesda for a forum at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Wednesday and Thursday.  The forum is entitled “Promoting Efficient and Effective Collaborations among Academia, Government and Industry.”   NIH director Francis Collins will be opening the forum, and then there will be several panels and breakout sessions.  I’m particularly interested in a breakout session on biomarkers and diagnostic tests for diseases including cancer.  I’m also looking forward to the posters showing good examples of collaborations.

If I make it there, I’ll let you know what I find out!