NIH Dedicates New Clinical Research Center
On September 22, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) celebrated the completion of the new Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center. Government officials, current and former NIH patients and their families, and NIH staff filled the circular Science Court atrium. The patients sat toward the front of the room next to their NIH physicians.
After a welcome by Clinical Center Director Dr. John Gallin, NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni said, "This is a day of dedication and a new contract with medical research at the beginning of the 21st century." Dr. Zerhouni acknowledged the stakeholders who have made the Clinical Center what it is, including members of Congress who have supported medical research, the NIH staff and construction crew, and the more than 350,000 patients who have participated in clinical trials on the Bethesda campus. Read more
Where Cutting-Edge Science Meets Patient Care
With the opening of the new Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Center on the NIH campus, I can't help but think that this next-generation facility will be the site of new research breakthroughs, led in large part by researchers from the NCI Center for Cancer Research (CCR). CCR researchers working in the new clinical center will be at the forefront of the imaging revolution, for example. The recently established Molecular Imaging Program, headed by Dr. Peter Choyke, will be a comprehensive program that spans the discovery-development-delivery continuum. This program's multifaceted work will include developing imaging probes targeted to specific molecular events or pathways relevant to cancer and the development of novel diagnostic and delivery systems, and then testing these technologies, along with new imaging agents, in early phase trials at the clinical center.
The Hatfield Center also will be the setting of many other initiatives such as the efforts of the Urologic Oncology Branch (UOB), led by Dr. W. Marston Linehan, to attack kidney cancer at the genetic and molecular levels. This work follows more than two decades of discoveries by the Branch's researchers, including the identification of three genes - VHL, Met, and BHD - each related to a different type of kidney cancer. Researchers worldwide have been studying these genetic pathways, especially the VHL pathway, and in partnership with a small pharmaceutical company, UOB researchers have developed new molecular therapeutics that will be tested in early stage trials in the Hatfield Center. Importantly, these trials will incorporate vascular imaging and PET to immediately evaluate patient response to therapy. Read more