Texas A&M brings head of NIH translational science center to Texas Medical Center

October 24, 2013

Scientific forum focuses on providing new treatments to patients in need

The Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT) today welcomed

Photo of Dr. Chris Austin touring campus

Brett P. Giroir, M.D., Chris Austin, M.D., and Mark W. Lenox, Ph.D., tour a growing therapeutics space in Bryan-College Station before Dr. Austin’s talk at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology in Houston.

Christopher P. Austin, M.D., inaugural director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as keynote speaker of the 16th annual Mavis P. Kelsey Lecture Series. NCATS was established in 2011, and holds the national responsibility to transform medical science so that new cures for diseases can be delivered to patients faster and more effectively.

As the nation’s leader for innovating translational medicine, Dr. Austin addressed a diverse group of scientists, health care providers and patients, both in attendance at the Texas A&M IBT and via webcast across the globe, about developing partnerships to reduce the risks, time delays and costs of advancing treatments for diseases into the first stages of clinical testing. Once early clinical testing demonstrates the potential of a new treatment, companies are more willing to adopt them and invest the still-considerable resources needed to complete development for delivery to patients.

Dr. Austin shared with attendees and web viewers of the lecture perspectives on how “translation is a team sport” and conveyed that bringing together the right partners at the right time throughout the process is key to delivering cures to those patients suffering from the most common to the rarest of diseases.

John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, was not in attendance at the lecture, but offered remarks. “Investments by the state and Texas A&M in resources to perform preclinical testing at the Texas Institute for Preclinical Sciences (TIPS), ability to develop and manufacture vaccines and therapeutics at the National Center for Therapeutics manufacturing (NCTM) and a presence in the Texas Medical Center through the Texas A&M IBT have positioned Texas A&M Health Science Center to become one of the nation’s leaders in moving therapies from discovery into the clinic.”

Led by Cheryl Lyn Walker, Ph.D., A.T.S., F.A.A.A.S., the Texas A&M IBT and its complement of distinguished research centers are significant contributors to the unique scientific atmosphere of Houston’s world-renowned Texas Medical Center.

“As part of Texas A&M IBT’s programs, the Kelsey Lecture has an established reputation for drawing internationally prominent leaders to enhance our collective knowledge and continued collaboration,” said Brett P. Giroir, M.D., interim executive vice present of the TAMHSC.  

For more information about the Kelsey Lecture series, visit http://ibt.tamhsc.edu/kelsey/.

— Blair Williamson