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The mission of the Innovative Translational Research Shared Resource (ITR) is to advance the translation of basic and clinical research into improved patient therapies by facilitating laboratory discoveries and managing data exchange.

The VICC Innovative Translational Research Shared Resource (ITR) was established in July 2008 to support collaborative research efforts, thereby setting a unique precedent in the field of cancer research by providing a means and method for laboratory and clinical investigators to work together to develop their ideas into new treatment approaches for cancer patients. The organization of the laboratory will facilitate collaboration of clinician-scientists with active clinical practices with basic scientists, leveraging the skills and attributes of each. In this collaborative laboratory, the most advanced laboratory techniques, new relevant animal models for cancer, and treatment approaches emphasizing the uniqueness of each patient’s tumor for precision therapy will lead to discoveries that could be more quickly translated to patient care, saving lives and improving outcomes.

Vanderbilt-Ingram physicians and scientists have determined that the most promising research approach emphasizes tailored molecular therapy (precision cancer treatment) with a focus on inhibiting tumor progression and metastasis. This can best be achieved by defining the molecular changes present in an individual patient’s tumor and monitoring the response of the tumor to treatment, not only based on tumor shrinkage but also treatment effectiveness at the molecular level. The information gained from monitoring will drive subsequent research and help shape the formulation of new treatments for patients.

An integral part of this process is the characterization of the features of each patient’s tumor. Vanderbilt-Ingram researchers have found that the greatest impact comes from discoveries made as a result of direct contact with patients and their particular form of the disease. By integrating laboratory studies in the ITR, and monitoring procedures with therapies in the clinic, clinicians are assisted in making the right choices for the most effective drugs to use for each particular patient.