Northside-Georgia State Partnership Connects Researchers and Clinicians

Georgia State University and Atlanta’s Northside Hospital have formalized a research partnership that bridges the gap between research and clinical treatment, laying grounds for a new model of “translational healthcare.”

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The institutions have integrated their strengths and resources in basic research and clinical capabilities to fill the void between research and clinical practice.

“Patients will reap the benefits of cutting-edge, new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic approaches, which regrettably, frequently sit untouched on the lab bench,” said Dr. Ritu Aneja, associate professor of biology at Georgia State.

Through the integration of laboratory investigation at Georgia State and clinical research in oncology at Northside, the partnership will address cancer health disparity-related questions that confront oncologists and cancer cell biologists alike.

Nearly 85 percent of cancer care in the United States occurs in community hospitals. Northside is home to one of the nation’s busiest community hospital-based cancer centers. The hospital is estimated to have treated nearly 8,000 new cancer patients in 2013 of which an estimated 2,400 were breast cancer-related.

Dr. Guilherme Cantuaria, medical director of Northside’s cancer program, envisions going beyond offering clinical trials to Northside’s patients by contributing to and using academic research findings to enhance patient care. His collaborations with Aneja aim to strengthen translational research bridges to ensure a two-way information flow. The collaboration powers a speedy knowledge-to-action cycle extending from the observations made at the bedside, which inspire basic research at the lab bench. The new knowledge gained then goes back to the clinic to influence and transform clinical practice.

“This partnership benefits the hospital, Georgia State University and ultimately the patient,” Aneja said. “Northside does not have research resources that are available at Georgia State, and Georgia State does not have the vast amount of patient data and biospecimen samples available at Northside Hospital Cancer Institute. Combining resources and data could facilitate research progress and accelerate capture of benefits that stem from research to improve therapeutic decision-making and patient outcomes.”