Collaboration is key in medical and biotechnology breakthroughs

March 1, 2011 § 3 Comments

Med/Biotech teamwork necessary in finding solutions

As science has advanced over the years, the problems that continue the face researchers often need the expertise of multiple fields in order to provide a feasible and sustainable solution. This is especially true in health research, where current health issues have technological and social components as well as the obvious medical facets. The National Institutes of Health have two fundamental themes that emphasize the need in the health research: “the study of human biology and behavior is a wonderfully dynamic process, and the traditional divisions within health research may in some instances impede the pace of scientific discovery.”

To achieve feasible and sustainable solutions within the realm of health research, medical research foundations and biotechnology companies are collaborating to make breakthroughs in scientific research. A good example of this is the collaboration between the National Cancer Institute and InNexus Biotechnology to research proprietary technologies.

“We believe our technologies for enhancing the function of antibodies have immediate applicability to research currently underway at the NCI. We’re excited to collaborate with the NCI and develop genetically engineered immunotoxins to selectively kill cancer cells,” said Jeff Morhet, CEO of InNexus, in The Medical News. “The world-class research team, resources and facilities at the NCI are a wonderful opportunity for the InNexus team to collaborate and showcase our science and ability to build and commercialize products.”

Medical and biotechnology collaboration can also cross international borders. The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, is collaborating with the New Jersey-based medical technology company BD on research into cancer, chronic inflammatory diseases and infectious diseases.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the institute to share its internal resources and scientific expertise with the wider scientific community and to improve the possibility of the institute’s technology being commercialised and having a positive impact on research and diagnostic markets,” said Dr James Dromey, the institute’s business development manager, in Medical News Today. “The institute’s strategic research interests align well with those of BD, particularly in key areas such as cancer, programmed cell death (apoptosis), stem cells and immunology. This is the first commercial contract that we have established for wider utilization of institute reagents, and we hope it will be the first step in a broader collaboration with BD.”

Inter-disciplinary research requires a strong team

“Inter-disciplinary research is when you get people to work together enough that you go beyond disciplines working separately on the same issue,” said Barry Popkin, director of the University of North Carolina’s Interdisciplinary Obesity Program, in Career Magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “It takes time to truly build teams,” Popkin said. “Not one or two years, it takes five years—for people to truly start talking to and understanding each other. And for the methods to start melding together—the measurement concerns, the statistical concerns, and the theoretical concerns.”

Start building a team now with the members and organizations at iAMscientist, where scientists and researchers in the medical and biotechnology fields (as well as many others) can easily discuss research projects, post jobs and RFAs, or search for possible collaborators using its new opportunity search platform. The opportunities for teamwork are endless in research, so why limit those opportunities by working with folks of a single discipline?

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