The Translational Medical Center (TMC) was established in October 2008 to serve as a bridge between both national institutes—the National Institute of Neuroscience and National Institute of Mental Health—and the National Center Hospital at the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP). TMC encourages translational research based on the scientific seeds identified at the two institutes as well as seeks answers through basic research to medical questions raised by hospital. We are also developing a biobank to store patient materials for clinical research. We work mainly out of the Cluster research building and TMC building. The following three departments support our clinical researchers, foster the talents of experts and leaders, and maintain our bio-resources.
Our Department of Clinical Development maintains a large number of bioresources that NCNP collects from individuals with neurological, psychiatric, and muscle or developmental disorders as well as healthy individuals. Samples contained in the NCNP Biobank include frozen muscle biopsy specimens, cultured myoblasts and fibroblasts, frozen brain tissue, cerebrospinal fluid samples, and genomes. These materials hold vital information that can help us investigate important clinical questions through, for example, exploring new causative genes and molecular markers and examining medical and genetic diagnostics. Our specialist team that manages these bioresources recently collaborated with the National Center Biobank Network, and we are closely involved in plans to establish a national medical genome center in the near future.
Our Department of Clinical Research Support encourages translational research, from the planning of clinical research and engaging in the provisional consultation process to supporting pharmaceutical affairs activities. In the area of muscle disease, for instance, we developed Remudy, a registry of muscular dystrophy patients, the framework of which is extendable to other rare neurological and muscle disorders. We also work closely with the Department of Clinical Trials Promotion based in the hospital, and as a result we have jointly established the Muscular Dystrophy Clinical Trials Network (MDCTN). The next step in our cooperative work is to develop an academic research organization (ARO) in the area of neuromuscular and psychiatric medicine.
Our Department of Clinical Epidemiology supports clinical research by fostering experts and leaders in the discipline. Departmental members include experts in epidemiology and biostatistics. They organize clinical research seminars and workshops as well as offer e-learning courses through ICRweb (http://www.icrweb.jp/mod/resource/view.php?id=883). The high quality of these educational events has prompted many scientific societies to invite our staff to give seminars at scientific meetings at home and overseas. We regularly organize conferences for young researchers, doctors, and other healthcare professionals and usually coordinate these conferences with the Young Researcher Fellowship Program funded through NCNP research grants.
TMC also provides other invaluable activities through its Business & Development Section, which manages the intellectual property pertaining to our national center’s scientific findings, techniques, materials, and know-how and tries to link NCNP researchers and doctors with business entities to develop their ideas and bring products to the market. TMC also plays an important role in supporting the NCNP Ethics Committee Management Office, by providing specialists in epidemiology and medical ethics to advise at institutional review board reviews of epidemiological and clinical research applications and patient cases at NCNP.
Translational Medical Center, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry
4-1-1 Ogawa-Higashi, Kodaira, Tokyo 187-8551, Japan
Tel: +81-42-341-2711, Fax: +81-42-346-3503