A Researcher’s Perspective: Linking Scientific Discovery to Clinical Medicine

Carla-Greenbaum-1For Carla Greenbaum, M.D., growing up in the era of space travel and the moon landing kindled a lifelong interest in science. She’s now a leading investigator of the natural history of type 1 diabetes (T1D) at the Benaroya Research Institute, which focuses on finding the cause of autoimmunity and developing targets for treatment. Dr. Greenbaum calls this work “incredibly exciting and inspiring—like landing on the moon!” Her expertise is invaluable to projects like Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, an international network of clinical trials in T1D supported by JDRF, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

We asked Dr. Greenbaum about the excitement of being involved in clinical trials.

What do you like best about working on clinical trials?

I like being a key link in the chain of scientific discovery to clinical medicine. Clinical trials are the result of brilliant scientists’ creative ideas about mechanisms that cause disease, providing hints about how to stop it. Those ideas are then handed off to translational researchers looking for added information about which ideas are true, and that work is then handed off to people like me to do clinical trials to see whether the ideas are correct and can really make a difference in people’s lives.

Carla-Greenbaum-2What would you say to those in the T1D community who want to know more about participating in trials?

In order for research to move forward, we need participants to help researchers answer important questions. The quicker trials enroll, the faster we have answers.

JDRF and TrialReach recently launched a new tool to match participants with clinical trials. How might this tool make a difference in T1D research?

Any tool that connects potential participants to research opportunities in a clear and meaningful manner is imperative in the fight against T1D.

What excites you most about T1D research today?

The most exciting thing about T1D research today is the number of human clinical trials taking place at each stage of the disease. This is a result of so many years of investment in basic research and the efforts of people in so many disciplines. It takes more than a village – it takes an army of passionate people dedicated to stopping T1D.


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