Clinical and Translational Research
Clinical Research is a particularly important part of an Academic Health Center’s mission, as it deals with the effects of disease on human beings. The goal of a clinical research project may be to better understand the impact a particular disease has on specific populations, or to study environmental or genetic risk factors for disease. Other clinical studies may evaluate the effects of experimental treatments on a specific disease. Such studies are called clinical trials and may be performed to investigate both the tolerability of a treatment or its effectiveness in treating either the underlying cause of a disease or reducing disease related symptoms.
Clinical research requires a well-developed infrastructure. At Upstate Medical University, the Clinical Research Unit provides a location to see research subjects, specialized nursing care, and a laboratory to meet the specialized demands of clinical studies with regard to tissue or fluid handling. Clinical trials are often performed in collaboration with other medical centers, and involve the collection of large amounts of data for each subject. The experimental design and statistical analysis of the data collected requires significant expertise. The Center for Research and Evaluation (CRE) at Upstate Medical University provides assistance to investigators in research design, statistics and data management.
Translational Research refers to research activities that connect basic science discoveries to questions related to clinical care. For example, the study of tumor biology is interesting and important in its own right, but becomes translational when information gained is applied to studies on potential new treatments for cancer, either in animal models or in humans. Studies of the genetic underpinnings of disease and the search for biological markers of diseases or new treatments also fall under the translational canopy. At Upstate Medical University, translational research is strongly supported, as is directly related to our mission of improving the health of the Upstate community.