New clinical research institute goes on line at UMC Brackenridge


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist JOHN GUSKY

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

Posted on October 12, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 12 at 5:53 PM

AUSTIN -- Often patients suffering from a variety of diseases and illnesses in Central Texas have to wait until medical advancements filter down to Austin from other cities more known for medical research. That could be about to change now that a new clinical research institute has been created in Austin.

Surgical scalpels, not scissors, were used to cut the ribbon on the new Seton/UT Southwestern Clinical Research Institute Friday morning on the third floor of the Clinical Education Center at University Medical Center Brackenridge.

"We are going to see with this the beginning of an evolution of  medicine and medical research in academic medicine within our community," said Clinical Research Institute Executive Director Steven Warach, M.D.

The institute will conduct innovative, patient-based medical research designed to improve the practice of medicine and the delivery of patient care locally.

"One of the most immediate things this will mean for our patients is access to the latest treatments even before they are generally available at other medical centers," said Warach.  

"This is a great day," said Texas Senator Kirk Watson.

Developing a medical research center for public and private research was among Watson's 10 in 10 list of 10 major medical initiatives that are needed over the next decade to greatly improve Austin's medical center.

"It will be one of those things that will be step toward people not needing to go to other cities or feeling the need to go to other cities when they have complicated illnesses," said Watson.

Watson says the new clinical institute, will provide opportunities for more clinical trials and more opportunities for cutting edge treatment in Austin.

Even though there was a lot of empty office space, the institute actually went on line Friday in that researchers are commencing studies. Work will ramp up steadily over the next several years as clinical researchers are recruited and each researcher's team is assembled.

Watson was quick to point out this is only one of his 10 medical initiatives he'd like to see play out over the next years. The others include a medical school, a modern teaching hospital and Austin clinics where this new research can be cultivated.