Translational Research Institute

From bench to bedside

The Florida Hospital - Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes (TRI) is a partnership with Florida Hospital that serves as a bridge between basic discovery research and patient-oriented research. The TRI is expected to hasten the discovery and development of new approaches to diagnose, prevent, and treat diabetes, obesity and their cardiovascular complications. One key aim is to produce unique insights into the sub-classifications of diabetes, thus promoting the advent of personalized disease therapies.

TRIAbout the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes

The TRI brings together the complementary strengths of Florida Hospital’s large patient base and clinical/translational research expertise, and SBP basic science prowess and advanced research technologies. The organizational synergy is bolstered by a shared disease focus at the Hospital’s Diabetes Institute and SBP Diabetes and Obesity Research Center.

Under the leadership of Steven Smith, M.D., scientific director of the TRI, the focus will be on clinical translational research in prevalent and preventable metabolic diseases. By aligning patient -oriented research with metabolic profiling research, scientists will broaden their understanding of individual variations in disease and, in turn, foster the development of effective new diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic approaches. It is predicted that the integration of newfound biomarkers into clinical practice will revolutionize healthcare delivery, with potential for enormous medical, social, and economic impact.

The crucial need to establish the TRI is underscored by the staggering epidemiology data. The NIH publication “The Genetic Landscape of Diabetes,” predicts that diabetes will be one of the most common diseases in the world within two decades, affecting at least half a billion people. In 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 23.6 million, (7.8 percent of people in the United States), had diabetes representing a 23 percent increase over the estimated number of diabetics in 2002, which was 18.2 million people.

Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes

Steven SmithWatch Dr. Smith discuss the Translational Research Institute

Recent Developments

More about the TRI

TRI Technologies

The TRI is a pioneering initiative for clinical translational research at Florida Hospital – a large tertiary care hospital and health care system. The TRI aims to bridge the typical silos of clinical and laboratory research in order to translate fundamental biomedical discoveries and technologies, and to implement specific treatment strategies to deliver care in a manner that is tailored to the individual patient.

Translational research is the bidirectional flow of information between “bench” and “bedside” to ultimately assess the relative merits of an innovative disease target or a novel disease modifying agent in patients. TRI investigators working directly with patients will make pivotal observations about disease processes and provide blood and tissue samples from highly characterized patients to SBP researchers in a collaborative two-way interaction.

Metabolomics, genomics, and proteomics technology platforms facilitate the success of SBP basic discovery research. These technologies will also be employed in the molecular phenotyping of patient samples who participate in clinical research at the TRI. Profiling metabolites, genes, and proteins will identify biomarkers that serve as signatures of health and disease, identify new therapeutic targets, and provide additional guidance on the sub-classification of diabetes.

SBP ability to engage in cutting-edge pre-clinical research using mouse models of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease enables researchers to test hypotheses which are drawn from observations in patient-oriented research. Mouse models of different diseases, such as heart failure, for example, can be used to develop diagnostic biomarkers, and metabolomics analysis will help determine if a patient’s heart failure is more related to diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart attack.

Collaborative activities between basic science research, pre-clinical investigations and patient-oriented clinical research will foster exciting discoveries for complex, heterogeneous metabolic diseases.

TRI History

In 2006, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute initiated plans for a research facility in Orlando, Florida, and began discussions with regional life science organizations about collaborative opportunities. Florida Hospital, one of the largest not-for-profit hospitals in the country, became an early partner of SBP with complementary clinical expertise in diabetes and metabolism and a shared commitment to add translational research to an established program of clinical diabetes research. In 2008, the Florida Hospital - SBP TRI was formed to facilitate the translation of novel scientific discoveries into practical therapeutic applications for diabetes and obesity. The TRI will be located in a state-of-the-art, 54,000 square foot building being constructed in Orlando on the Florida Hospital campus due for completion in March 2012.

Florida Hospital cares for more than a million patient visits per year and includes one of the largest and most comprehensive Diabetes and Endocrine Institutes in the country with 30,000 patient visits annually. The more than 2,000-bed system is comprised of eight hospitals and 18 out-patient care locations throughout Central Florida.

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