National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health
NCRR Reporter
Current IssuePast IssuesSubscribe

Download Entire Issue (PDF): 1.9MB Summer 2008  •  Vol. XXXII, No. 2


  • Message

Opportunities for Translation Through Advances in Biomedical Technologies

CTSAs in Focus

Critical Resources

Science Advances

Funding Matters

News from NCRR

From the Director

Opportunities for Translation Through Advances in Biomedical Technologies

Barbara Alving, M.D.

Countless breakthroughs in biomedical research and medicine have been made possible through the development of innovative technologies, instruments, and tools that open new doors for researchers and physicians. This issue provides excellent examples of the results.

The center featured in the cover story is just one of 50 NCRR-supported Biomedical Technology Research Resources (BTRRs) — all of which have made accomplishments in fostering translational medicine. But BTRRs don't function in a vacuum. They provide invaluable training and educational resources and are built on collaborations among basic scientists, clinicians, and engineers who strive to identify and address pressing needs in both research labs and the clinic.

Researchers at a single BTRR routinely interact with investigators supported by a wide range of NIH institutes and centers, as well as those from other NCRR programs, including the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs). CTSA awardees, for example, use the BTRRs' expertise and resources to create new diagnostic tests, adopt advanced research computing infrastructure, and explore molecular fingerprints of specific diseases.

BTRRs actively share the technologies they develop, often forging partnerships with industry to manufacture and commercialize instruments and tools — a critical element in bringing technological discoveries to the clinic. And many BTRRs receive additional support from other NIH institutes, leveraging resources to achieve their goals.

As you'll read in this issue, investigators at the BTRR in Boston, known as the National Center for Image-Guided Therapy, have developed an FDA-approved ultrasound instrument for eradicating uterine fibroids. This tool is now being adapted for other exciting applications, including tumor removal and neuroadministration of drugs. Other technologies conceived at the center are enabling neurosurgeons to minimize damage to normal brain tissue during operations and are providing physicians with more precise and effective methods for honing in on prostate cancer and other malignancies.

The research at the National Center for Image-Guided Therapy, like that at other BTRR centers, is helping to transform patient care by providing physicians with the tools to treat patients more efficiently and safely. Thanks to such advances, the "operating room of the future" is becoming a reality.

Barbara Alving, M.D.
Director, NCRR