The lecture will be streamed live on the internet. Go to www.fau.edu.
e-Toile: Dr Ramaswamy Narayanan, you are Professor and Associate Dean for Research & Industry Relations at Charles E. Schmidt College of Science - Florida Atlantic University. You are going to welcome, on April 27th, Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Nobel Laureate and Director of the Unit of Regulation of Retroviral Infections at Pasteur Institute in Paris, for a lecture on "HIV, a discovery highlighting the global benefit of translational research". Both the topic and the address of Mrs Barré-Sinoussi plead in favor of translational research. Can you remind us why?
Dr Ramaswamy Narayanan: Translational research ensures that a research in the laboratory gets translated and moves to the clinic rapidly to benefit the patients. Valuable time can be saved and help the patients suffering from life threatening illnesses.
With diseases like AIDS, the faster we move the basic research from the lab to the clinic , the greater benefits to the patient community in a timely manner.
Scientists are increasingly aware that this bench-to-bedside approach to translational research is really a two-way street. Basic scientists provide clinicians with new tools for use in patients and for assessment of their impact, and clinical researchers make novel observations about the nature and progression of disease that often stimulate basic investigations.
e-Toile: Research on HIV remains one of the most famous case study in the history of contemporary scientific research. Can you illustrate with some examples the current state of partnership between our two countries?
Dr Ramaswamy Narayanan: If Research on HIV is definitely a milestone in contemporary scientific and medical research, there are so many different types of collaboration between American and French Scientists accross areas of science and engineering.
Too many to even list them. Nevertheless, let me mention quickly a few examples:
e-Toile: You are specialized in the molecular biological aspects of cancer. In your own field, is trans lational research still relevant or should we talk more about global research?
Dr Ramaswamy Narayanan: Translational research is very relevant to all aspects of research in biomedical area. NIH, INSERM, UK and other European funding agencies are all focussing on translational research to ensure that the fruits of benefits of research in the laboratory goes to help the humans. This is the buzz word in biomedical research across the globe.
This helps biomedical scientists to focus their efforts to ask a simple question I.e. how can their research benefit human. With the completion of the human genome sequencing, we are in a era of being in a better position to diagnose and treat many different diseases.
For example in breast cancer patients one can suggest which patient will benefit from a drug (Herceptin) by measuring a level of a protein called Her2/Neu. This knowledge allows a clinician to choose the best possible patient who can benefit from the treatment thereby removing randomness and guess work from the treatment. Similarly in the case of Leukemia, A targeted drug called Gleevac makes a major difference to the patients by a targeted therapy. It is becoming possible to predict which patient will respond to a drug before starting the treatment and hence avoid side effects. Similar examples exists for other cancers.
These immense benefits to patients are possible because of the focus by many different scientists on translational research. Simply put, translational research help us move research from bench to bed side rapidly.
Dr. Ramaswamy Narayanan, Professor and Associate Dean for Research & Industry Relations
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Florida Atlantic University
777, Glades Road, SC 216 (Sanson Sciences)
Boca Raton FL 33431