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Newly Formed Institute to Transform How Research Becomes Patient-Relevant Practice

October 28, 2008

Four notable medical and educational institutions have formed a landmark consortium that is expected to streamline the way bench science is translated into bedside practice that could benefit millions of people. Christiana Care Health System, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Delaware will pool their talents and expertise as the Delaware Valley Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (DVICTS).

The Institute brings together the capabilities of four primary medical and educational institutions with close affiliations to three other academic institutions, 33 hospitals, over 130 research and clinical specialty centers and 14 schools and colleges. Innovative collaborations will be established between experts in medical practice, health economics and policy, population sciences, public health, and biomedical and materials sciences. The primary goal will be not only to develop new therapies and programs but also to improve when, how and where healthcare is delivered. The DVICTS will be led by a steering committee of 12 individuals–three representatives from each of the four lead institutions.

“We’re using our strengths, sharing our data, involving the communities and eliminating the usual compartmentalized infrastructure to open the doors to new ideas,” explains Robert L. Barchi, MD, PhD, President, Thomas Jefferson University. “Our education plan is a key component–being jointly developed with our partners. We’re training a new cadre of scientists who will understand both the clinical and translational side of medicine.”

“Discoveries that could fuel groundbreaking, real-world practices are limitless,” emphasizes Robert Laskowski, MD, President and CEO, Christiana Care Health System. “The DVICTS will have a direct impact on the lives of people in Delaware, southeastern Pennsylvania and southwestern New Jersey.”

Joint projects of member institutions are already underway. Molecular genetic markers are being developed to tailor and individualize cancer therapy and research is being carried out on the use and applications of proton beam therapy (housed at Jefferson) for cancer treatment. A biomathematics initiative is investigating the movement of fluid in bone tissue–an innovation that could revolutionize orthopedics. Medical informatics is giving patients a way to save all of their medical records on a single microchip. New devices such as a robotic exoskeleton will give individuals with limited movement freedom from their disabling conditions.

Tom Ferry, Senior Vice President, Hospital Operations for Nemours and CEO of the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, believes this partnership is a natural extension of the collaboration that many of the Institute’s members have enjoyed for years. “Expanding the collaboration of our four institutions and including the many other organizations will enable even greater achievements in the future.”

One of the goals of the DVICTS is to acquire new grants that could collectively fund greater research discoveries. “This is team science and team medicine,” says Patrick T. Harker PhD, President, University of Delaware, “that most certainly will have national and international implications. This institute will combine the best doctors and researchers at these leading medical institutions with the University’s researchers and scientists across a broad range of disciplines. What we can do together could change the practice of medicine.”

About Thomas Jefferson University

Thomas Jefferson University, the largest freestanding academic medical center in Philadelphia, is comprised of Jefferson Medical College, Jefferson College of Graduate Studies, Jefferson College of Health Professions and the Jefferson School of Health Policy and Population Health. Jefferson is regarded nationally as one of the best universities offering a range of comprehensive programs for the education of health professions. Jefferson Medical College serves as the medical school for the state of Delaware.

About Christiana Care Health System

Christiana Care Health System, based in Wilmington, Delaware, is one of the largest health care providers in the mid-Atlantic region, serving all of Delaware and portions of seven counties bordering the state in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey.

About Nemours

Nemours is one of the largest children’s health systems in the nation and owns and operates the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children as well as the Nemours Children’s Clinic with multiple locations in Delaware, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr, Newtown Square, and Lancaster), New Jersey (Voorhees and Atlantic City) and Florida (Jacksonville, Orlando and Pensacola).

About the University of Delaware

The University of Delaware, located in Newark, Delaware, was founded in 1743 and offers over 100 academic majors with a distinguished faculty that includes internationally renowned scientists.




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