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COHA’s clinical trials in pets benefit both animals and humans alike

Funded by a CTSA award, the Clinical and Translational Science Award One Health Alliance (COHA) is comprised of veterinary schools partnered with medical institutions. COHA’s mission is to advance our understanding of diseases shared by humans and animals.

One issue targeted by COHA is chronic pain. Pets and humans frequently suffer from similar pain-causing conditions such as bone cancer, diabetes, interstitial cystitis, and osteoarthritis. Experts, including those from Duke and N.C. State, demonstrate in this video how transdisciplinary collaboration could lead to improved pain control in humans through optimized translational approaches.

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Improving Clinical Trials Through Thoughtful Collaboration

While clinical trials can lead to many medical breakthroughs, they’re often weighed down by inefficiency and red tape. To fix the system, we need to reach across fields.

Many have called for major improvements in clinical trials that can accelerate the delivery of life-changing treatments to patients, yet randomized clinical trials continue to increase in cost and complexity, and questions of quality remain. Why is it so difficult to right the ship? Improving any single process among the hundreds involved in designing and conducting a clinical trial is unlikely to transform the overall system, nor can changes by just one stakeholder move the needle.

A systematic, evidence-based approach to addressing issues of efficiency and quality in clinical trials — one that includes participants from across the clinical trials enterprise as equal partners — is the method needed to achieve widespread, measurable improvements in clinical trials.


NIH to limit the amount of grant money a scientist can receive

US agency creates point system to address imbalance in distribution of research funds.

For the first time, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will restrict the amount of funding that an individual scientist can hold at any one time, on the basis of a point system. The move, announced on 2 May, is part of an ongoing effort to make obtaining grants easier for early- and mid-career scientists, who face much tougher odds than their more-experienced colleagues.

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Scientists seek early signs of autism

Biomarkers could aid diagnosis and lead to strategies for treatment

Soon after systems biologist Juergen Hahn published a paper describing a way to predict whether a child has autism from a blood sample, the notes from parents began arriving. “I have a bunch of parents writing me now who want to test their kids,” says Hahn, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. “I can’t do that.”

That’s because despite their promise, his group’s results, reported March 16 in PLOS Computational Biology, are preliminary — nowhere close to a debut in a clinical setting. The test will need to be confirmed and repeated in different children before it can be used to help diagnose autism. Still, the work of Hahn and colleagues, along with other recent papers, illustrates how the hunt for a concrete biological signature of autism, a biomarker, is gaining speed.

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Michelle Maclay, Communications Director