Clinicians and scientists within The Bateson Centre share a vision of turning discoveries about how the body works into new ways to treat and prevent disease. Their teamwork ensures findings made at the laboratory bench will be translated into the clinic and that clinical data inform and enrich our understanding of fundamental biological processes.
Many Bateson Centre clinicians exploit expertise gained in both fields. In the cardiovascular programme of work, clinicians study blood flow in zebrafish, a system in which blood cells can be directly visualised and in which genes and drugs can be easily manipulated and tested for their efficacy in altering blood flow. In the clinic, the same clinicians treat patients with atherosclerosis – a condition arising from blocked blood vessels and altered blood flow – the cause of most heart attacks and strokes.
Clinician neuroscientists use skin cells from patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease to undertake drug screens, and will, in future, complement these with zebrafish-based in vivo studies to rapidly assess the efficacy of new drugs for these relentlessly progressive condition. In the field of inflammatory diseases, clinicians see patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and other lung diseases; their observations feed back to inform the rational design of new programmes of lab-based research.
Together, such targeted translational approaches can provide the strength and depth of new understanding that will be required to yield major impacts in the clinic in the 21st century.